Can i get fired if i choose to self isolate during this virus?
My employer is choosing to remain open during this shelter in place order. It is an auto parts store and I deal with the public all day. I live with my elderly mother and am worried if I keep going to work and get exposed, I will give it to her which would be deadly. If i explain my situation and stay home can they fire me?
3 attorney answers
In California, you are considered an at-will employee. If the business is open but you do not want to work, the employer cannot be liable for that. You can take time off to care for your family if one of them are ill or not feeling well pursuant to Labor Code 233. If you decide to quit work, you can attempt to file an Unemployment Claim based on new federal and state emergency measures.
This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended nor should be construed as legal advice for any particular case or client. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney. This posting is not intended to constitute an advertisement nor a solicitation.
I can't tell whether this fits your situation, but some employees are covered by the federal and state family leave laws. Coverage depends on the size of the employer and how long and how many hours the employee has worked. An employee covered by these leave laws is entitled to an unpaid leave of up to 12 weeks to care for a relative with a serious health condition. So your right to use such a leave if you are covered by this law would also depend on whether your mother has a serious health condition. I think interacting with the outside world for her would count as "caring".
Things are very chaotic right now, and depending on what County you are in and whether the County in which you work has issued specific orders regarding this situation, it is really impossible to know for sure. You are an at will employee unless you have an agreement to the contrary about that status with your employer. Generally you can be terminated for any reason or even no reason at all, and refusing to work would normally be a perfectly fine reason to let you go. However if you are legally required to socially distance yourself, and your employer is so ordered, then it may be a termination in violation of public policy to terminate you for following a direct government order.
In this situation it would seem the health of you and your elderly mother needs to take priority in your left, but that is your decision. If you are terminated and it turns out your employer had been legally required to let you out on leave, then you can deal with those legal consequences.
Good luck to you.
This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed only through the mutual execution of an attorney-client agreement. The answer given is based on the extremely limited facts provided and the proper course of action might change significantly with the introduction of other facts. All who read this answer should not rely on the answer to govern their conduct. Please seek the advice of competent counsel after disclosing all facts to that attorney. This answer is intended for California residents only. The answering party is only licensed to practice in the State of California.