Can I Sue My Employer for Firing Me During the Pandemic?

The coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) took the world by storm. It led to unprecedented changes across several facets of human existence. The disruptions it brought led to the halting of business, economic recession across many countries, and massive terminations and layoffs by many employers. If you are a recently laid-off employee in Florida, you may be wondering if your employer was right in terminating your employment during the pandemic.

Generally, a Florida Workers Compensation lawyer will be your best bet to untangle the issues surrounding workers’ termination and compensation. However, this article gives you preliminary knowledge on the subject. After reading it, you can decide then to reach out to any Florida workers comp attorney to commence actions.

When Has Wrongful Termination Occurred?

Florida is known as an ‘at-will’ employment state. This means that an employer is given much more leeway than obtained in other states. Thus, an employer can fire you for any reason, or for no reason whatsoever, as long as the employer isn’t breaking the law. The law affords them protection up to that extent.

Generally, however, an employer cannot fire you if you were the subject of sexual harassment. If that is the case, you can reach out to a workers’ compensation attorney in Florida. You could get compensatory damages, and may even get reinstated with benefits.

Also, employers cannot fire workers for refusing to engage in illegal activities, or reporting a superior who engages in such. Florida’s Whistle-Blowers’ Act protects such employees. You can also contact a specialist, in this case, a workers compensation lawyer in Florida if you were fired over wage disputes. Every worker is entitled to their full and fair wage. Hence, if you filed a workers’ compensation claim or had a dispute with your employer about pay, they cannot fire you on account of that.

When Do You Contact A Florida Workers Compensation Lawyer?

As already mentioned, Florida is an ‘at-will’ state; employers can terminate your employment with reason. Furthermore, the coronavirus pandemic provides a novel situation. The question then should be, considering the peculiar situation occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, are there other grounds to get compensation if unjustly fired? Given that some general grounds of exceptions are discussed above, you must be wondering if there are other exceptions particular to the pandemic. Well, there are. You can still obtain workers’ compensation in some instances of termination even within the pandemic.

Firstly, you can contact any workers comp lawyer in Florida if you believe that the termination is based on bias. The bias may be implicit and could be connected to race, sex, color, national origin, religion, or disability. Furthermore, as any Florida’s workers comp attorney will tell you if you’d earlier complained about workplace safety, an employer cannot arbitrarily fire you. This is because the termination could only be a ruse to get rid of you and your complaints. This is expressly provided for in the 1970 Occupational and Safety Health (OSH) Act. When any such malicious terminations occur, you are entitled to compensation.

Furthermore, you can reach out to any of the worker’s compensation lawyers in Florida to explain the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). This law, enacted in the heat of the pandemic, makes some provisions regulating the relationship between employers and employees and providing for workers compensation during and after the pandemic.

For instance, if the employer closes (or terminates employment) while the employee is on paid sick leave or family and medical leave, the employer must pay for any paid leave the employee exhausted before the employer closed. After the employer closes, the employee is not entitled to paid sick leave, or expanded family medical leave but may claim unemployment insurance benefits.

Similarly, or if your Florida workers comp attorney commenced an action (i.e. instituted a suit) related to sick leave benefits, the employer cannot terminate your employment. This is so as long as you began the action or filed the complaint under the FCRA.

Finally, if you stayed away from work due to the various stay-at-home orders given by different state governments, then your employer cannot fire you.

Which Is The Best Florida Workers Comp Attorney?

Workers comp attorneys in Florida are quite numerous. However, a lot of them may not all have the expertise to handle your case. Actually, the issues related to employment issues in the thick of the pandemic are dicey, so the average Florida workers comp lawyer may be stomped. You need Florida workers' compensation lawyers who have the expertise and experience to handle your issues. Attorneys at Burnetti, P. A. are versed in issues relating to workers' compensation. You should rest assured you are in capable hands.