The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone and a large percentage of the workforce in the United States and lots of people have been laid off. This has contributed to an economic crisis that has only compounded the public health crisis.
There have been numerous reports of furloughs, pay cuts, and even people getting laid off. In many cases, these people have been the victims of the COVID-19 pandemic. This has given rise to a number of legal questions. In particular, many individuals want to know if they have been terminated wrongfully. This is where it is important to take a look at the employment contract or agreement.
First, an employment agreement is a contract that legally binds the employer and employee in a working relationship. There are a number of factors that play a role in the formulation of an employment contract. This includes the duration of the contract, the position, the duties of that position, the compensation, vacation time, bonuses, and other benefits. As a result, a contract usually spells out in black and white why someone might be terminated.
Now, it is possible for an employment contract to be modified; however, they need to both agree to these changes in order for them to go into effect. For example, a doctor might want to modify his or her contract to take on more duties in order to help out the hospital in a pinch. Lots of doctors are working outside of their typical scope of employment in order to help out during the pandemic. At the same time, that doctor might also want something of value in return for taking on this additional hazard. Furthermore, some employees might have their schedules temporarily reduced or changed due to the pandemic. Regardless, this is an amendment that has to be clearly defined. The terms need to have a duration specified and the benefits of taking on this added scope should also be indicated.
If someone has been terminated wrongfully, then there could be opportunities to sue the employer due to a breach of contract case. In this manner, an employee would sue his or her employer in order to force him or her to uphold the contract.
Importantly, the employer might try to invoke something known as a force majeure clause. In this case, the employer will try to claim that there was a condition that could not have been foreseen, such as a pandemic. Then, the employer would ask the judge not to force him or her to uphold the contract. This is where it is important to rely on the help of a trained legal professional.
This is a brief overview of how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted employment law. For those who have been terminated due to the crisis, it is important for them to know their rights. There could be some situations where a trained employment lawyer can be helpful. The crisis has impacted everyone and nobody has to go through this alone.