Covid-19Worker Rights

April 30, 2020 by Southern Maine Workers Center

Can my employer fire me because I have COVID-19, they suspect I have COVID-19, or someone in my household has COVID-19?

It is illegal for your employer to fire you or otherwise treat you worse than other employees because you have a disability or are regarded as having a disability.  Because COVID-19 may be a disability, it may be illegal for your employer to fire you because you have it or because your employer regards you as having it, particularly where accommodations like unpaid leave are available to address any safety concerns the employer has.  Additionally, it is illegal for an employer to fire someone or treat someone worse because of their association with someone with a disability, which may include your association with someone who has COVID-19.  

If you believe you have been subject to discrimination because of a disability, contact an employment discrimination attorney. You may also file a complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission directly by filling out an online intake form or calling (207) 624-6290. Keep in mind that short deadlines may apply to your claims, including a 300-day deadline for filing a complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission and a 45-day deadline for federal employees to initiate a complaint with their EEO counselor.

DISCLAIMER: This FAQ Sheet is intended to provide accurate, general background information regarding legal rights relating to employment in Maine. It is not legal advice. Because laws and legal procedures are subject to differing interpretations and frequent change, particularly in an emergency, the authors cannot ensure the information is current or be responsible for how the information is used. Do not rely on this information without consulting an attorney or the appropriate agency about your rights in your particular situation.