Employee Rights During the Covid-19 Pandemic. Essay Example

Published: 2023-08-10
Employee Rights During the Covid-19 Pandemic. Essay Example
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Human resources Covid 19 Employment law
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 961 words
9 min read

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way people live and conduct their daily activities. It is no doubt that each person in the world has felt the impact. Businesses have not been spared, and they have had to realign their operations so that the companies are not adversely affected. The measures taken by most organizations to cushion themselves against losses resulting from the pandemic include laying off employees, asking some employees to work from home, and reducing their salaries (Baker, Scott, et al., 4). In recent days many employees have accused their employers of unfair labor practices. Many employees claim that they were unfairly dismissed from work or forced to take unpaid leave (Gostin, Lawrence & Wiley, 6).

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Other accusations are that the working environment makes them susceptible to contracting the virus. Does this beg the question of employers acting in the correct legal procedure in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic? While it is true that employees are obligated to provide a safe working environment for their employees, it is essential to note that they are acting in challenging circumstances, and some measures may be necessary. Many issues, such as whether employees on quarantine should be paid and the number of salary employees working from home should receive, have gained prominence and become the subject of legal and ethical debate. This paper aims to discuss whether employers are acting in the best way to protect employee rights during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Employee Rights

Covid 19 has put businesses in deep financial strain and reduced sales. However, this should not be an excuse for employers to victimize their employees. Employees are protected by the fundamental human rights enshrined in the Constitution and the rights stipulated in the labor act. Employees have the right to participate in planned demonstrations to voice out their concerns whenever they feel that they have been unfairly treated. Employees have the right not to have their employment terminated without the correct communication channel being used to communicate the decision to them (Lee, Peter, Lau & Cheng, 2). COVID-19 has transformed the way employers handle the payment issue, and this is understandable considering the constrained financial situations businesses have found themselves in. The right to speech for many employees has also been compromised, and they are forced to accept severe conditions without raising their voices against the atrocities. They are threatened with termination of employment if they try to protest the organization’s directive. Most of them have to toe the line because nobody wants to find themselves in a situation where they cannot pay their bills during the hard times when the chances of obtaining new jobs are minimal.

Amazon is one of the large companies that have found themselves the subject of media attention for the wrong reasons. In March, when the pandemic had just reached its peak, employees at Amazon expressed displeasure with how the company was handling safety precautions to keep them safe. They said that the working environment was quite poor, and they did not have access to the right protective equipment. The employers were seeking for the company to improve their working conditions and keep them safe. One of the employees who had organized the protest had his employment terminated. When the company was tasked to explain why he had been fired, it responded by saying that he had attended the rallies at the company premises when he was supposed to be on self-quarantine. The company added that it had acted in the best interest of the employees to prevent them from contracting the virus. The company clarified that it was providing essential services that are necessary when people are at home and rely on online shopping to obtain their products. On the accusations it was not doing enough to protect its employees, the company asserted that it had realigned its processes so that employees kept a safe distance from each other to reduce the chances of transmitting the virus.

The Amazon example is only one case among the many reported scenarios of employees facing rough working conditions. While large businesses may afford to keep most of their employees’ smaller companies are more complicated. Most of them have had to close shops, leaving a large number of people unemployed. When possible employees are working from home, but they also have to contend with smaller pay. Many employees cannot report unfair labor practices because, to most of them, it seems like part of the pandemic. The law stipulates that as long as an employee has worked all the required hours, they deserve full pay. The employer can only lower the salary to the minimum level, but after dialogue with the employee (Baker, Scott, et al., 5). It is recommended that employees become more aware of their rights during this period so that they know how to file their claim in the right channel.


This is a tough time for many sectors, including businesses. Every person will have to make adjustments to put themselves in the best position to bounce back when the dark cloud is over. However, employees should not take advantage of the tough situation to step on employee rights. When making adjustments to their processes or retrenching employees, they should do so with consideration and care to protect their employees while keeping their businesses afloat.

Works Cited

Baker, Scott R., et al. Covid-induced economic uncertainty. No. w26983. National Bureau of Economic Research, 2020.

Gostin, Lawrence O., and Lindsay F. Wiley. "Governmental public health powers during the COVID-19 pandemic: Stay-at-home orders, business closures, and travel restrictions." JAMA (2020).

Lee, Peter KC, Antonio KW Lau, and T. C. E. Cheng. "Employee rights protection and financial performance." Journal of Business Research 66.10 (2013): 1861-1869.

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