210 New Road, Suite 12 | Linwood, New Jersey 08221
Businesses around the country are facing an increase in whistleblower claims related to alleged COVID-19 workplace safety violations. It is easy to understand why. An employee who raises a concern about a COVID-19 safety issue, reports it to authorities and then gets furloughed or laid off may believe that he or she was retaliated against. In reality, the company may have been forced to reduce staff because the pandemic has drastically cut down business. Nevertheless, employers more and more are being forced to justify their business decisions by demonstrating non-retaliatory reasons.
As of mid-November, approximately 50 whistleblower retaliation claims related to COVID-19 had been filed in New Jersey since the pandemic began, according to reliable case trackers. Employers also are facing more than 100 other claims involving various COVID-19 safety violations, including alleged remote work violations, wage and hour violations and refusal to grant legally mandated sick time and family leave.
Understandably, New Jersey employers are wondering what they can do to protect their businesses from these kinds of allegations. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, there are several steps you can take to limit potential liability if faced with a COVID-19 claim:
While implementing these actions won’t always prevent employees from filing complaints, such measures can help you defend yourself if it becomes necessary. In addition, listen closely to employee concerns and investigate their complaints. This is a stressful time for everyone and you can mitigate some of that stress by taking your employees’ concerns seriously. Failing to do so could certainly be the proverbial “last straw” that causes the employee to file a complaint.
Barker, Gelfand, James & Sarvas, P.C. provides employment and labor law counsel to companies throughout New Jersey. If you have questions regarding COVID-19 safety-related claims by employees, please call our Linwood office at 609-601-8677 or contact us online to schedule an attorney consultation.
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Barker, Gelfand, James & Sarvas, P.C. is located in Linwood, NJ and serves clients in and around Linwood, Somers Point, Ventnor City, Margate City, Northfield, Egg Harbor Township, Atlantic City, Pleasantville, Absecon, Pomona, Oceanville, Mays Landing, Egg Harbor City, Port Republic, Brigantine, Longport, We also serve Atlantic, Cape May, Gloucester, Cumberland and Camden counties.
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