Information for Doctors, Nurses, and Frontline Staff
If you are a Doctor, Nurse, or frontline staff at an essential business
facing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) issues and/or issues with workplace
safety and hazards, we have prepared the following resources:
NY Whistleblower Statutes Provide Worker Protections
If your employer has retaliated against you for complaining about, or objecting
to, its violation of New York State’s COVID-19 Quarantine Order
(such as the stay-at-home or social distancing mandates), you might have
protection under the law. Retaliation is any adverse employment action
taken against you, such as termination, demotion, suspension, or any other
form of negative consequence, as a result of your complaint or objection.
Pursuant to New York Labor Law § 740, employers are prohibited from
taking any retaliatory action against employees who “object to,
or refuse to participate in any activity, policy, or practice” “that
is in violation of law, rule or regulation which violation creates and
presents a substantial and specific danger to the public health or safety.”
Thus, under this law, the harm that results from the violation of which
the employee complains must affect the general public and not just the
individual employee. Due to the substantial and specific danger that COVID-19
poses to the public health and safety, an employee’s objection to,
or refusal to participate in, the violation of New York’s COVID-19
Quarantine Order would arguably fall in this category and be protected
Additionally, if you are a health care provider, you have further protection
under New York Labor Law § 741. Labor Law § 741 protects health
care employees from retaliation for disclosing or objecting to “an
activity, policy or practice of [the employee’s] employer . . .
that the employee, in good faith, reasonably believes constitutes improper
quality of patient care.” Therefore, rather than only protecting
complaints that affect the public health and safety, § 741 protects
health care employees who report violations which may present “a
significant threat to the health of a specific patient.”
Paid Sick Leave Laws in New York
As of March 18, 2020, workers may be eligible for paid sick leave under the
Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Anyone working for the government is likely to be covered under this
policy, allowing those who have fallen ill or are caring for someone who
is ill to
receive up to $200-$511 depending on their situation.
In New York, COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave legislation was recently
passed that allows employees to collect benefits depending on the nature
of their employer.
Employers with 10 or fewer employees with net income less than $1 million: Unpaid sick leave and immediate eligibility for Paid Family Leave and
Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) benefits
Employers with 11-99 employees with net income greater than $1 million: At least 5 paid days of sick leave, then eligibility for Paid Family
Leave and TDI benefits
Employers with 100+ employees (also applies to public employees): Minimum of 14 days of paid sick leave
If you have been terminated or furloughed as a result of COVID-19 and the
mandatory order of quarantine, you should consider applying for NY Paid
Family Leave and Short Term Disability Leave using the
New York State Paid Family Leave Form. Our attorneys are available to discuss your options in preparing this
form if your employer has not provided it or the requisite paid sick leave
that you may be entitled to, or if you are denied benefits from your employer's
insurance carrier. You may find your employer's insurance carrier by search on the
New York State Workers' Compensation Board website.
Applying for Family & Medical Leave Act Benefits
Unfortunately, not all businesses are obligated to make what might seem
like reasonable changes to their operations. For those with COVID-19 whose
employers are not offering the needed help, they may be able to apply
for Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) benefits. If your employer qualifies,
you could be granted up to 12 weeks of paid leave.
New York City grants up to 40 hours of paid sick leave for employees of
companies with 5 or more workers. To learn more about these conditions,
call a New York COVID-19 and
workplace rights attorney right away.
Dealing with Workplace Discrimination
Some employers are not handling the COVID-19 outbreak in an ethical manner.
This could mean
discrimination against someone of Asian or Chinese descent, especially after the Coronavirus was referred to as the the "Chinese
virus" in order to direct blame. This could lead to unlawful hate
and discrimination within the workplace causing a hostile work environment.
If you have experienced any form of workplace mistreatment, make sure
to speak with Nisar Law Group, P.C. about how to proceed with your case.
Have You Been Offered a Severance Agreement?
Many employers are having to make the difficult decision to terminate their
employees due to the financial impact of the Coronavirus on their business.
Severance agreements are agreements between the employer and employee
which provide monetary compensation in exchange for certain clauses that
protect the employer. It is important to speak with an employment attorney
to discuss your rights and legal options. Our firm may be able to provide
you severance negotiation services to enhance the value of your overall
package, especially if you experienced any form of discrimination within
(646) 760-6493 now to get started on your consultation.