The legalities of companies letting go of their staff amid the Coronavirus pandemic
The pandemic was a challenging time for most people. A majority of the people were working from their houses and were not allowed to leave. Whenever there was a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases, the Government would implement changes and national lockdowns so people could not leave their homes. The primary reason behind these lockdowns was to reduce the spreading virus, which spread through interactions between two people. People could not leave their houses unless for medical reasons, groceries or essential services.
While some companies could leap from heading to the office and working in person with various teams and clients to the interwebs to get their work done, others were going through a struggle to get through. Industries like construction, hospitality, home assistance, among many others, had to be handled in person and could not be moved online, so the only opportunity that they had was waiting for the authorities to raise restrictions so they could get back to work.
Legal issues that companies were getting through during the Coronavirus
With the changes taking place due to the Coronavirus, employers and business owners were unsure about getting through. There were challenges with the work they were doing, with most complaining that remote working decreased productivity. Some companies were letting go of many of their employers, while others were shutting down the entire departments since they could not meet the company's needs. In the first few months of the pandemic, the United States saw a loss of more than 20 million jobs.
Throughout the pandemic, there were very many lawsuits flying around directed at companies and employers by people stating that they were wronged during the process and put out of work. Job-related lawsuits have never been higher than they were during the Coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, there were benefits that people who lost their jobs could lean on if they had the correct paperwork so that they were not left high and dry on the streets.
Understanding the legal process before getting into any trouble
Here are a few of the reasons why employees were filing lawsuits against their employers
● Some employees felt that they were singled out and let go of when they lost their jobs.
● Others believed that their lives were at risk when they were called into the office
● There were instances where offices and companies were calling them into work
(depending on whether they were following the Government mandate) which was a risk to their lives
- Some employees working in essential services were being overworked and did not want to put in as many hours
- Others wanted to pay to leave that they could not avail of since their business or company was understaffed
Depending on the situation an employee was going through, they would have to file their lawsuit under the correct title. These are some of the most used lawsuits when working with a lawyer to get back at the company that wronged you.
- FMLA interference:
- Breach of contract:
- Wrongful termination:
There are many other types of workplace lawsuits that are the result of the coronavirus. They cover other issues such as:
- Wrongful death
- WARN Act
- Wage and hour disputes
- Workplace safety
- Privacy violations
- Noncompete agreements
- Worker misclassification
- Workers’ compensation
Unfortunately, there were no rules they could follow about changes and companies letting go of their staff because they ran out of money or were down on their finances. Companies that would prove that they could no longer pay their employees were allowed to make the changes and get through the process.
There are a lot of companies who assist people with getting through these lawsuits and they have seen an increase in the number of applications throughout the pandemic. They even offer guidance with the process and make suggestions about whether such a move is a wise idea or would cause more damage.
One of the best parts about having the time during the pandemic is that people can choose to represent themselves through the process and get through. There is enough that they can learn about the law. Every year millions of people try to work through the process and navigate through court and the legal system without a lawyer, thinking that they can do it themselves. Most law firms across the country would suggest against representing oneself without legal assistance since the process is not as simple. Furthermore, without the proper understanding of the law, there are chances that they would not do too well while they were working on getting through the case.
When working with employees, there are always grey areas where they could end up harassed by the employer or the company. While there are rules to protect employees from harassment, they could be fired during the pandemic if the company was going through financial difficulties.
Many companies had to let go of their entire departments to keep up with the changes, and many employees mentioned that they were specifically singled out, which was unfair but there was nothing that could be done about the process.
On the flip side, companies introduced new processes when hiring people to make sure they were a good fit for the team. There were changes they had to get through since there were a lot of developments in most of the countries throughout the COVID pandemic. With a large number of unemployed people in the country, they wanted to make sure that they were working with people who were in for the long term. Applicants had to provide background checks to make sure that they did not have a criminal record. They had to provide some additional personal documentation that the background check process would demand when they had to get through.
People looking to get a background check can get through various third-party applications willing to assist with the process. They would need about two weeks to a month to get their results which is quite challenging, so they started getting the information before attending the interview.
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