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The coronavirus pandemic has created confusion for many employers and employees, and it can be an especially difficult time to seek help for employees who feel they've been unfairly terminated.
Blaine Bortnick of law firm Rasco Klock told FOX Business that he would advise any employee who feels he or she was unfairly fired to take a beat.
"It varies from state to state, but generally speaking an employee has 300 days to file an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charge," Bortnick said. "There’s no need to go and rush out tomorrow and file an EEOC charge. ... You should have a dialogue with the company and gather the facts."
Workplace retaliation includes, but isn't limited to, the drastic action of firing. The EEOC protects most workers from forms of retaliation, including giving poor performance evaluations, demoting employees and even verbal abuse.
Most employers with 15 or more employees must abide by Equal Employment Opportunity laws, which protect employees from being punished for asserting their rights.
Nothing about the coronavirus crisis has changed the basic rights of both employees and employers, Bortnick said.
Employers are still prohibited from using layoffs to get rid of an employee they would otherwise unfairly terminate, regardless of the coronavirus, Bortnick said.
Employees considering filing an EEOC charge can visit this webpage.
"That issue arises all the time, before we ever heard of COVID-19," Bortnick said. "An extreme example an employer could not get away with would be firing 85% of women and only 5% of men because of COVID-19. When they're essentially doing the same job, you can't use COVID-19 as a coverup."