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COVID-19 and Workplace Lawsuits

We have all been severely impacted by COVID-19. It’s likely that you or someone close to you has been fired or has had extreme workplace challenges in the past year. It is no surprise that there has been an increase in workplace related lawsuits in the year 2020 compared to years prior. In article by USA Today, they documented over 1,000 workplace related lawsuits due to the pandemic. Many of these lawsuit involved issues with workplace safety, payment and termination during the pandemic.

Several workplace safety cases have emerged around the topic of companies providing protective equipment to their employees, requiring masks for customers and employees to keep everyone safe, and general hygiene protocols. Payment issues revolved around gaining proper compensation for extra hours during the pandemic, mismanagement in tracking online hours and compensation for online purchasing. The most severe cases were discrimination cases which including cases on the denial of work from home requests, unfair termination and denial of sick leave.

While the cases have several overlapping themes, I believe each case will need to be look at on a case by case basis. I do not believe the outcome of one case, no matter if similar circumstances, will be able to indicate the outcome of another. This is because I believe the case outcomes will be more dictated by the company and their response to the pandemic than the circumstances of the case.

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