Van Kampen Law was recently featured on WSOC-TV Channel 9 Eyewitness News. Anchor Brittney Johnson interviewed Josh Van Kampen about the biggest COVID-19 safety concerns people are facing on the job and what to do if your job puts you at risk.
Ongoing Concerns About COVID-19 at Work
Half of the calls the Van Kampen Law office receives are COVID-19 related. At the beginning of the pandemic, most calls were from people concerned about the lack of proper PPE and safety measures in the workplace. Now most calls are from people worried about their employers being secretive about COVID-19 exposure when co-workers are testing positive.
“I’m getting a lot of calls now about people finding out through the grapevine that a coworker tested positive for COVID and the employer isn’t telling them anything. And this is insidious, because then those coworkers are going home to their families, they’re seeing their grandparents or elderly parents unaware. That’s because the employer doesn’t want them to be aware, and to me that’s criminal,” says Attorney Josh Van Kampen.
What To Do if your Employer is not Providing a Safe Workplace
If you have concerns about your employer’s business practices for providing a COVID-19 safety measures in the workplace, you should speak up. Van Kampen Law recommends employees concerned about their companies COVID-19 related practices to report their concerns. You can alert your company’s ethics line, CEO, or the state Department of Labor to document issues.
Even if your employer fires you for these concerns, you still may have a legal claim. There are state and federal laws put in place to protect whistleblowers against retaliation during these unprecedented times. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) aims to protect workers’ income during the COVID-19 outbreak. Unfortunately, these federal Coronavirus leave rules are set to expire on December 31st, 2020.
It is unknown whether the Department of Labor’s revised regulations to FFCRA will undergo further judicial scrutiny. In the meantime, covered employers may rely upon the revised regulations, bearing in mind that there may be further challenges.
How an Employment Lawyer Can Protect Your Rights During COVID-19
Van Kampen Law is here to help people navigate through COVID-19 in the workplace. Our firm practices employment law across the state of North Carolina. Our COVID-19 Employee Resources blog is full of resources to help you stay informed and protect your rights. Our friends at Eyewitness News shared the webpage during our recent segment. While you’re at it, be sure to check out the Walking Papers Podcast to stay in the know on the go.