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COVID-19 and Reopening NYC Part 2


In our second blog post about what reopening NYC might look light, we answer some additional questions about the legal protections that are available to employees.

Legal Protections in light of COVID-19

I was fired after telling my boss that the safety measures at work were insufficient. What can I do?

What your employer did is called retaliation and it is illegal. You may be protected under New York’s whistleblower law, but you would have to show that the employer was violating a law or regulation about workplace safety.

If I get Covid-19 because of my job, am I eligible for workers’ compensation?

There is not an easy answer to this question because it would be nearly impossible to determine where someone contracted the illness. But the workers’ compensation system is run by states, and several governors and state legislatures have already come out with orders or bills granting eligibility for health-care workers and first responders who fall ill with Covid-19.

If I have an underlying health condition that would make contracting COVID-19 more serious or even fatal, am I entitled to any type of accommodation so I can work from home.

Yes, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and its New York State and City counterparts provide for a reasonable accommodation to an employee with a disabling medical condition. Your employer should work with you interactively to discuss a reasonable way for you to perform your job duties so you remain safe, including working from home. If you have been working from home effectively since New York City has been on PAUSE, you have an excellent argument that your request to continue doing so is reasonable.