There are many issues employees should keep in mind at the COVID-19 crisis continues to move through the population. Among your primary concerns should be your employment status and ability to use paid sick leave benefits at your discretion, not your employer’s.
Did Your Employer Require You to Use Your Paid Sick Leave?
If an employee does not want to go to work for fear of contracting COVID-19, they can use their paid sick leave balance, vacation pay, or PTO to cover the time off. That said, an employer cannot require an employee to use their paid sick leave due to COVID-19.
If your employer has made you use your earned sick days as opposed to taking unpaid time off due to the current pandemic, you may have a valid claim to bring a lawsuit forward. Your employer cannot tell you how to use the hours or days of paid sick leave, vacation, or PTO.
Were You Reclassified or Misclassified as an Independent Contractor?
Under applicable California labor laws – especially those as recent as AB-5 – almost no one with an employer is a true independent contractor. This means that if your employer recently changed your status or informed you that you are considered an independent contractor due COVID-19, this is more than likely an illegal act and you are entitled to file a claim and seek fair and just compensation through legal action.
Employers often cut wages in order to save money. Although illegal, reclassifying employees as independent contractors accomplishes that goal because it reduces or eliminates minimum wages, overtime pay, expense reimbursements, and other wages and protections provided under the law – not to mention a lot of overhead costs. If your employer has done this to you, their conduct is probably illegal, and you are likely owed unpaid wages and penalties.
Do You Need Help?
The Carter Law Firm can help you recover damages for forced use of sick leave benefits or misclassification to independent contractor status during COVID-19. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means we only get paid if you do.
Contact us online or call (949) 239-0419 to schedule a free initial consultation with an employment law attorney who can help.