In the face of a global pandemic, workplaces as we know them have drastically changed. Working from home has become common place, jobs that were undervalued in our society are now seen as essential, and workplaces once seen as safe now have increasing health and safety risks. The circumstances in this essentially unprecedented time serve as an important reminder to why we fight for the rights of workers and why it is so important to continue advancing that fight.
As employment lawyers, we meet folks everyday who have been subjected to harassment, discrimination, and retaliation in the workplace. We meet individuals who have been denied overtime pay or reasonable accommodations. We meet individuals who have been fired because they blew the whistle or engaged in protected activity to improve their working conditions or pay. These are the people we fight for.
Unfortunately, in this time of workforce reductions and mass layoffs, these illegal practices oftentimes only increase. We have already seen this happening. Employers are denying reasonable accommodations to workers who suffer from underlying health conditions that put them at high risk. Employers are terminating workers who complain about health and safety concerns. Employers are denying leave to workers who need to care for themselves or a family member. Employers are conducting layoffs in a discriminatory manor, selecting workers based on their race, religion, national origin, sex, age, or other protected categories.
Our Firm has been fighting against employers who engage in these types of illegal practices for 20 years. The circumstances may be unique, but the battle is the same. We remain dedicated to helping employees who have been denied the rights to which they are entitled under the law or to help them stand up and assert those rights.
If your employer has denied you a reasonable accommodation or leave to which you are entitled, if your employer terminated you because you complained about health and safety concerns, if your employer conducted a layoff that affected you in a discriminatory manor, or if your employer retaliates against you for fighting for change, I hope you contact us.
This situation will not last forever, but it will likely have substantial long-lasting implications. And, unfortunately, there is no guarantee it will not happen again. That is why we must not only fight for immediate individual results, but we must continue the fight for systematic change. We need strong laws to protect workers’ rights. We need universal paid sick leave and a living wage for all workers. We see workers all across the country standing together to demand change. Workers as varied as sanitation workers, grocery clerks, and those in the so-called gig economy are going on strike to demand safe working conditions. That is how true progress happens.