Can you be fired for not going to work during a pandemic?

Generic photo
Generic photo(Pexels)
Updated: Mar. 19, 2020 at 7:16 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - There’s been a 400 percent increase in unemployment claims filed this week, according to The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce.

Many of you have been asking about what type of protections are in place for employees in South Carolina.

South Carolina is an at-will employment state, so employers can fire you at any time for any reason or no reason at all, as long as it's not due to discrimination or against public policy (such as going to jury duty).

We asked a legal expert Jay Bender whether an employee could be fired for choosing not to coming to work for fear of COVID-19.

“I would hate to be an employee faced with discharge for declining to come to work during a pandemic because I had concern for my health or the health of others. But given how courts generally rule against employees in South Carolina, I would think the employer would win that case,” said Bender.

The US. Department of Labor posted questions and answers about wage laws during this pandemic:

COVID-19 or Other Public Health Emergencies and the Fair Labor Standards Act Questions and Answers

COVID-19 or Other Public Health Emergencies and the Family and Medical Leave Act Questions and Answers

The agency's website said, "The Wage and Hour Division provides information on common issues employers and employees face when responding to influenza, pandemics, or other public health emergencies, and their effects on wages and hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act and job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act."

Copyright 2020 WCSC. All rights reserved.