Many workers have questions and concerns regarding their job status and employment rights during the Covid-19 pandemic. Disputes between employers and employees can be resolved more easily when there is clarity on what an employer can or cannot do to a worker’s job status. For unresolved disputes, it may be best to work with a reliable employment contract mediator in Massachusetts.
Q: During the hiring process, can the employer screen new job applicants for Covid-19 symptoms?
A: Yes, according to the EEOC, after a conditional job offer has been made, the employer reserves the right to screen the candidate for Covid-19 symptoms. However, this practice must be applied to all job applicants in that category uniformly. If you believe the employer has discriminated against you on this issue, you should talk to a Boston employment mediator.
Q: Can the employer check the body temperature of the job applicant as part of a pre-employment health exam?
A: Yes, according to the EEOC, checking a job applicant or employee’s body temperature during Covid-19 would be regarded as a medical exam. Medical exams of prospective job candidates are permitted by the ADA after a conditional job offer has been given to an applicant.
Q: If the applicant shows Covid-19 symptoms or is confirmed positive, can the employer delay the start date of their employment?
A: Yes, during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not prevent employers from abiding by the recommendations of the CDC. Therefore, symptomatic job applicants can be excluded from the place of work, and their start date can be postponed. These directions are likely to change depending on the pandemic situation. You should speak to a competent employment contract mediator if you have concerns.
Q: Is an employer allowed to withdraw a job offer (which was already made to an applicant), who has been found to be Covid-19 positive or symptomatic?
A: Yes, as of April 2020, the EEOC opined that withdrawal of job offers to a Covid positive or symptomatic applicant is legal according to the prevailing CDC guidelines. But to understand the current legal position on this issue, a knowledgeable Boston employment mediator can help.
Q: Is the federal government’s WARN Act (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) implicated when the employer wants to lay off workers temporarily because of Covid-19?
A: If the company is defined as an employer as per the WARN Act, any layoff that exceeds six months will be considered a loss of employment. Therefore, in case of a mass layoff or shutdown of a business facility, a notice to workers is required. Similarly, if the work hours are reduced by more than 50 percent per month during a consecutive period of six months, it could be considered a loss of employment. In this case too, the employer must give a notice under the WARN Act in the event of a mass layoff.
Protect Your Rights with Help from a Boston Employment Mediator
Covid-19 pandemic has created a stressful situation for employees in several ways. During this challenging time, an employment lawsuit may only further aggravate your stress. The experts at Shapiro Mediation Services will provide you the right legal guidance so that you can determine the best path forward for you. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 617.765.1040 or write to us online.