Philadelphia takes the lead protecting returning employees, and hopefully starts a trend. On Thursday, June 25, Philadelphia’s City Council unanimously approved Bill No. 200328. This Bill will make it illegal for employers to retaliate against workers who complain about unsafe work conditions due to the coronavirus. Mayor Kenney has expressed support for the Bill. Therefore, when he signs it, workers will be legally protected. This law will make Philadelphia the first large US city to make it illegal to punish workers for raising concerns because the worst healthcare crisis of our times.
As an employment lawyer that represent employees, this is great news. No employee should have to work in an unsafe environment. Even more so, no worker should be punished for raising concerns about his or her safety or health, and that of his or her co-workers. Fear to speak out can lead to more people getting sick and an increased spread of the virus.
This Bill specifically states two protections for employees:
- If they disclose non-compliance with the City’s health orders and regulations
- If they refuse to work due to non-compliance to these order and regulations
Employees should also know that there are also federal and state whistleblower protection laws for unsafe working conditions. This means that employees outside of Philadelphia may also have similar protections against retaliation.
If you have been terminated, harassed, or otherwise punished for speaking out about unsafe work conditions, please call me. You have the law on your side. This Bill is just one example of protecting returning employees. And I would be happy to discuss your situation with you and explore your options and rights.