Are your working conditions unsafe or unhealthy? Does your boss fail to follow Coronavirus health guidelines? You may have the legal right to refuse to work. Here’s more:
Hey, this is Know Your Rights with Kyle Todd, and today I’m going to talk about working in unsafe conditions in California.
So under the labor code in California, it is completely illegal to make employees work in unhealthy or unsafe working conditions, no exceptions. And even with the Coronavirus, that does not change, so employers still have to take protective measures – provide equipment and other safeguards, to protect the health and safety of their employees.
What Are My Options if My Working Conditions Are Unsafe?
Now that raises the question, okay, what are my options if I’m being asked to work in unsafe working conditions?
Well, number one, you can refuse to work in those conditions.
I would recommend that you put your complaint in writing, send an email to your supervisor and HR if you can, send a text if that’s all you can do. But put it in writing and make clear that you’re refusing to work because of the unsafe working conditions that they’re trying to expose you to.
And in California, the law’s on your side there. You can’t be terminated for refusing to work in unsafe working conditions in California.
If you are, you have a wrongful termination case.
Another thing you can do is put it in writing, complain. The same goes for making complaints.
So, let’s say you make a complaint, but you keep working. If you’re fired for making those complaints, you have a case of wrongful termination.
Now, the other thing you can do is you can quit.
I just want to clarify that if you quit, you may not have a wrongful termination case. It could still be considered constructive discharge, but that is a case by case analysis.
If you do quit for being asked to work in unsafe working conditions, you can still apply for unemployment claims.
So people think sometimes, “Well, I hope I just get laid off or fired. That way I can apply for unemployment.”But no, you can quit, as long as you had a good reason, like being harassed at work, being asked to work in unsafe working condition, being asked to do fraudulent things.
If you have a really good reason for quitting like that, then you can still apply for unemployment.
Who Should I Call if I Encounter Unsafe or Unhealthy Work Conditions?
Now our law firm, Kyle Todd, P.C, handles wrongful termination cases for employees who spoke up or refuse to work in unsafe working conditions and got fired.
But CAL/OSHA is really the on-the-ground-agency for addressing unsafe working conditions directly.
So if your goal is to make your workplace safer and remedy those unsafe conditions, CAL/OSHA is who you contact for that. If you’ve been fired for speaking up or refusing to work, you can call our law firm. Those are the types of cases we do.
And because it’s especially relevant for healthcare workers, I want to give a plug to a really great attorney, Kevin Cauley, P.C.
He handles healthcare licensing. So if you’re a healthcare worker, whether you’ve been asked to work in unsafe conditions without proper PPE or otherwise, and you have licensing in California, Kevin Cauley P.C. is the firm I recommend for those kind of cases.
This has been Know Your Rights with Kyle Todd. I appreciate you watching.