Coronavirus media coverage and social distancing measures evolved over the last several weeks from a relatively mild concern to a full-scale emergency. It is little wonder that the impact of this virus on us, our jobs, and our well being weighs heavily on our minds.
For individuals and communities particularly affected by this virus, there are mounting questions surrounding the health, safety, job, and financial security of those individuals who are affected.
Each person comes with a unique story to tell. As these circumstances are all different, understand that no online article can fully capture the complexity of a given legal question. That being said, the information below is meant to help guide you on your search to learn about your rights in unprecedented times and provide resources on where to find legal aid.
What if I Get Sick on the Job?
The Occupational Safety and health Act (OSHA) outlines several regulations to which employers must adhere as a way to ensure the safety of their employees. As Covid-19 is something we have never seen before and our regulations are evolving by the day, there is no set OSHA standard that employers must follow.
For the working public that falls under the category of “essential workers,” this poses a potential issue of an unregulated work environment. For more information on OSHA’s current recommendations, visit osha.gov or read this resource.
Can My Employer Fire Me for Having Coronavirus?
Generally speaking, many employees are protected by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to remain home when suffering with a serious illness without adverse employment effects.
For individuals who suffer from a preexisting condition which impacts their daily life and puts them at higher risk for complications of COVID-19, they may be protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This is because the combination of their underlying symptoms and severity of the virus could effectively render them disabled.
Can I Get Workers Compensation?
Workers Compensation provides employees with the ability to claim damages for work-related injuries. For professionals in high-risk fields, such as construction, this allows them added support to deal with the medical bills following an injury.
The largest challenge with claiming Workers Compensation benefits or COVID-19 is that the injury must be directly related to your work and employment. For a condition as infectious as the Coronavirus, it is difficult to prove that your contraction of the virus is due to your work rather than a routine and necessary activity such as shopping for groceries.
Will Coronavirus Affect my Current Lawsuit?
Due to the large number of business closures and changes in operating hours, many individuals are worried about the status of their pending litigation. While we are all learning to adjust and find new ways of working, the good news is that the internet makes this transition easier and more successful.
Arizona is technologically advanced. Even before the pandemic, we regularly utilized telephonic hearings and teleconferencing to get much of our litigation completed. As we make new adjustments in the wake of Covid-19, this technology remains the backbone of how our court system continues to run.
Courts are currently doing what they can to eliminate unnecessary in-person contact within the courthouse. What measures are being taken by each individual court varies, but generally includes a cancelation of jury trials and any non-essential events. That being said, we still maintain the ability to contact chambers, send in documents, and conduct other business by phone. As such, we retain our ability to continue with pending litigation.
Each Case Is Different: Speak With a Lawyer
While we wish legal matters were straightforward and answers easy to provide, the reality is that they are not. While these answers may guide your general understanding of rights and laws in Arizona, they are subject to change and the unique circumstances of your situation can greatly affect the outcome of your potential case.
For these reasons, it’s necessary to speak with legal counsel for any legal questions you have regarding personal injury, employment disputes, or even medical negligence.
With over 25 years of litigation experience, the BBerry Law Office can discuss and handle your claims from initial assessment all the way through litigation and trial. Call (520) 347-8484 to schedule a consultation to explore your options for a fair outcome.