ResourcesCovid-19

April 30, 2020

Can my employer terminate me or discipline me for refusing to work in an environment in which there is a high risk of exposure to coronavirus, if I report a risk of exposure, or if I advocate for changes to make my workplace safer?

Under the Maine Whistleblowers’ Protection Act (MWPA), your employer cannot discriminate against you for your good faith report of what you have “reasonable cause to believe is a condition or practice that would put at risk the health or safety of that employee or any other individual.” Therefore, a report you make about a risk…

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ResourcesCovid-19

April 30, 2020

Is my employer required to provide me with reasonable accommodations related to the Coronavirus?

If you have a compromised immune system or another medical condition impacted by COVID-19 (including mental health conditions like anxiety disorders), your employer may be required to provide you with a reasonable accommodation like telecommuting or protective equipment, unless doing so would cause the employer an undue hardship.   Common cold or seasonal flu symptoms are…

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ResourcesCovid-19

April 30, 2020

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, my employer made assumptions about me or treated me differently than coworkers because I am Asian or from another country. What can I do?

An employer who treats you worse than other workers because of your race, national origin, or ethnic background is violating the law. This includes employer actions that single you out because of negative stereotypes.  Please see pages 19 and 21 of the Southern Maine Workers’ Center’s WORK Manual for more information on race or national…

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ResourcesCovid-19

April 30, 2020

Can I lose my job if I need to take time off because I am sick with COVID-19 or my family member is sick with COVID-19?

As described in FAQ 9, COVID-19 may be a disability within the meaning of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Maine Human Rights Act (MHRA).  If so, it would be illegal for your employer to fire you because you develop COVID-19, because it regards you as having COVID-19, or because you associate with…

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ResourcesCovid-19

April 30, 2020

My child’s daycare or school is closed because of the coronavirus threat. Can I take time off to care for my child?

In addition to the 10 days of paid sick leave described in FAQ 3, your employer may be required to allow you to take an additional 10 weeks of job-protected leave with partial pay to care for your child while your child is out of school or daycare is unavailable, for a total of 12…

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ResourcesCovid-19

April 30, 2020

I am self-employed or an independent contractor and I am unable to work or my income has been reduced for reasons related to COVID-19. What can I do to receive income while I am not working?

Beginning May 1, 2020, the Maine Department of Labor (DOL) began accepting applications for unemployment benefits under the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Under that program, workers who would not typically be eligible for unemployment under Maine law, such as self-employed workers, “gig economy” workers, independent contractors, and workers with limited work history, are…

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ResourcesCovid-19

April 30, 2020

Due to coronavirus, my employer has cut my hours, forced me to take unpaid leave, or ended my employment. What can I do?

You may be eligible for unemployment benefits while you are out of work.  In general, you may apply for unemployment benefits if you worked for an employer and made at least $5,150 during the last year.   The Maine Legislature passed a law to expand unemployment benefits to workers affected by the COVID-19 virus. That legislation…

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ResourcesCovid-19

March 16, 2020

Hotline and Legal Clinic Response to COVID-19

*Due to high call volume, please allow for 1-2 business days for a call back from our Worker Support Hotline. If we can get to your inquiry quicker, we will. Thank you for understanding. Thank you so much for contacting us about your work problem. You’ve bravely taken the first step to get the support…

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StatementsCovid-19

March 15, 2020

Solidarity is Always the Answer: how we’re taking collective care & action in a time of crisis

Dear Friends,  The members, staff, and board of SMWC have been closely monitoring the rapidly changing news and impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus) and the response this week. The times we are in are uncertain and unknown. We’ve never been a Workers’ Center under circumstances like these, and we are trying to pivot quickly to respond…

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