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Fired Due to Omicron
Have you been fired due to Omicron? If so, your employer may have violated antidiscrimination laws and you may be entitled to monetary compensation.Our Experienced Lawyers Represent Workers Throughout California
At Kokozian Law Firm, APC, we represent California workers who have not been paid properly. We represent workers who have not received their legally mandated rest and meal periods. We represent workers who have been harassed or discriminated against due to their Age, Race, or Sex. We represent workers who were fired for taking a leave of absence from work due to injury or illness. And yes, we represent workers who have been fired due to Omicron. So, if you have been fired due to Omicron, call the experienced attorneys at Kokozian Law Firm, APC.COVID-19
SARS-CoV-2, also known as the novel coronavirus, is the virus that causes COVID-19. COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that spreads from person to person through fine droplets and small particles (respiratory fluids) that contain the virus. These respiratory fluids are breathed out by the infected person. The virus is then absorbed by others through inhalation or contact with the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, or eyes. Even persons who exhibit no COVID-19 symptoms can spread the virus.The COVID-19 Pandemic
COVID-19 has affected the lives of millions of California workers. Many establishments that closed when stay-at-home orders were issued, never reopened, eliminating tens of thousands of jobs. Employers fired infected workers, blaming them for spreading the virus to coworkers and forcing facilities to close temporarily. Workers saw their hours reduced or faced layoffs. Crowded workspaces, such as fast-food worksites, saw high rates of COVID-19 transmission. On top of all this, the COVID-19 pandemic has persisted. The virus has continuously evolved and mutated since the beginning of the pandemic. One variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus has been followed by another variant, and then another. Though we are well over two years into the pandemic, COVID-19 continues to infect workers, forcing them to take time off from work and face a heightened risk of being fired due to this potentially disabling disease.The Omicron Variant
Omicron has regularly been in the news for months. Omicron (and its lineages: B.1.1.529, BA.1, BA.1.1, BA.2, BA.3, BA.4 and BA.5) is a highly contagious variant of COVID-19. While Omicron is generally considered a relatively mild version of the COVID-19 virus, the overall symptoms are the same as those associated with previous variants. Omicron may cause you to develop fatigue, muscle pain, headaches, fever, a runny nose, and coughing. Some people develop severe symptoms and require hospitalization. Other have died from Omicron. Development of severe symptoms depends on such factors as age, health, vaccination status, and history of previous COVID-19 infections. Repeated COVID-19 infections, including Omicron, can increase the risk of strokes, heart attacks, and long-term cognitive impairment. A small percentage of those infected suffer long-haul symptoms, which can last up to six months after testing positive.Omicron Can Be a Disability Affording Protected Status to Those Affected
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) (California Government Code section 12900 et seq.) prohibits employers with five or more employees from discriminating against workers in compensation or in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment based on Disability, including physical disabilities. An illness or other physical impairment may constitute a Physical Disability if it:
- Affects a body system (neurological; immunological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive; digestive; genitourinary; hemic and lymphatic; circulatory; skin; or endocrine); and
- Limits a major life activity.
- Major life activities include such actions as caring for yourself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, sitting, breathing, speaking, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, interacting with others, and working.
- An impairment “limits” a major life activity if it makes it difficult to achieve the major life activity.
Omicron can affect your respiratory, circulatory, or other body systems. Omicron can limit your ability to work, concentrate, and perform other major life activities. Omicron can render you temporarily unable to work. Therefore, Omicron can be a disability affording special protections, and firing you because of Omicron may be illegal under FEHA and other antidiscrimination laws.Omicron and Work
Omicron has forced some workers to make uncomfortable choices. Workers have felt compelled to go to work while having Omicron symptoms or go to work after knowing they have been exposed to Omicron. Some workers may tell their boss that they have “allergies,” when in fact they have Omicron. Some workers have sent their children to school or daycare when their children had Omicron symptoms so not to miss work. The sad truth is that many workers cannot afford to miss work. Their employers do not offer paid time off when they are sick. Even if the worker is eligible for COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave or paid sick leave, some employers are more inclined to fire the worker than provide paid sick leave. This may stem in part from the nature of our society. According to the Center for Economic Policy and Research, United States is the only developed county that does not guarantee paid sick leave. Another reason workers with Omicron do not take time off from work is because they are afraid of being fired.Fired Due to Omicron
Many workers do miss significant time from work due to Omicron. You may be among them. Did you miss work because you felt ill or had to quarantine after testing positive for Omicron? Did you miss work because your employer was closed or reduced its hours due to an Omicron outbreak at your workplace? Did you miss work because your child tested positive for Omicron? Were you fired due to Omicron? If so, your employer may have violated your rights and California law.Consult a Disability Discrimination Lawyer at Our Firm
There are substantial protections available to employees suffering from COVID-19. If you have been fired due to Omicron or are concerned that your rights as an employee have been violated during the COVID-19 pandemic, call the experienced attorneys at Kokozian Law Firm, APC or Contact Us via our online form. We are here to help you.