California employers are prohibited from discriminating against, suspending, demoting or terminating workers. The Fair Employment and Housing Act only protects workers who either have or are perceived to have a qualifying medical condition.
FEHA does not protect workers who do not currently have Coronavirus but who choose to self-quarantine as a precautionary.
Which Employers are Covered under the Law?
Most employers are covered and required to extend job protections under the law. If your employer has 5 or more employees, they are covered. Those employees can be:
- Work at a different location
Which Employees are Covered under the Law?
Any employee (regardless of full-time/part-time status) who works for a covered employer and who has a qualifying condition is covered.
A qualifying condition is a disease that makes a major life activity (including working, concentrating, interacting with others, reading, learning and sleeping) difficult.
Mild conditions that do not limit a major life activity are not considered qualifying conditions. This includes mild cases of the flu, cold and headaches. So whether or not your Coronavirus experience qualifies depends largely on the severity of condition.
Which Workers are not Covered under the Law?
Certain workers are not protected under the FEHA. This is most relevant to Independent Contractors. Because many employers improperly characterize workers who should be employees as independent contractors, before settling on the conclusion that you are not eligible for protection, you should make sure you meet all the requirements of an independent contractor, or consult an attorney to determine whether you should actually be considered an employee.