News 12 New Jersey reports that a nurse who brought her own mask from home was fired by Virtua Voorhees Hospital, which is located in Voorhees Township, NJ. According to reports, the nurse was told by her supervisor that she could not wear the mask because it was not issued by the hospital. The story and her termination highlight the risks that healthcare workers are facing during the COVID-19 crisis, as well as the risk of employer retaliation. If you are a healthcare worker or another worker who has been retaliated against during the coronavirus pandemic, call our employment law attorneys at the office of McOmber McOmber & Luber today for legal counsel you can trust.
Lack of PPE Leads to Nurse’s Termination
As reported, the nurse had brought an N95 mask from home and was wearing the mask during her shift. The hospital had provided her with a different mask, but it was described by Kulach as “tissue paper,” implying that the nurse found it insufficient to provide proper protection. The hospital told her she did not need the N95 mask because she was not working directly with COVID-19 patients; the nurse countered, arguing that there were infected patients on her floor. The report indicates that she had also brought other PPE (personal protective equipment) from home, but does not provide specifics about the types of PPE.
Risks and Retaliation During COVID-19
This nurse is not the only worker who has been retaliated against for insisting on the use of PPE; employees in many industries have been scolded or terminated. Many other employees have expressed fear of retaliation for speaking up about not having proper PPE or other protections in place, as well as about fears of taking leave and losing their jobs as such.
Your Rights as an Employee During Coronavirus
If you are an employee during coronavirus, it is important that you understand your rights. In the case of this nurse, her union has said that it will fight on her behalf. Whether you are represented by a union or not, if you have been unfairly retaliated against, terminated, or refused leave or paid leave in violation of your rights or the law, we strongly recommend that you consult with an employment law attorney.
In these unprecedented times, it is now more important than ever that employers provide employees with the protections that they need and deserve. Retaliation may not only be unethical, but also unlawful.
Call Our Experienced New Jersey Employment Law Attorneys Today
At the law office of McOmber McOmber & Luber, our experienced employment law attorneys know that workers like this one are on the frontlines of this pandemic. For workers who are considered essential during this crisis, protections in the form of PPE paid leave, and more are critical. If you believe that your rights have been breached and you have been retaliated against, please do not hesitate to call our lawyers directly for the legal representation you need. We are still working during this pandemic and can assist you remotely. Consultations are free of charge.