Scared to Return to Work Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic?

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Professor James Brudney discusses relevant employment laws and workplace protections as businesses and cities prepare to reopen with Time Magazine.

Can my employer fire me if I don’t return to the office?

Generally speaking, an employer can fire you if you refuse to come back to work. Most workers in the United States are employed “at will,” meaning that an employer can fire them for any reason that is not deemed illegal, explains James Brudney, a professor of labor and employment law at Fordham University School of Law in New York.

As Brudney explains, the Fair Labor Standards Act dictates that you have a right to be paid for all the work you do during all the hours you work. So if you end up working longer hours as a result of the pandemic, you’re supposed to be paid any appropriate overtime premiums you qualify for, he says.

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