KISS: A Texas Employee Response to Layoffs, Unemployment, Severance
Texas layoffs, unemployment, and severance are happening now. So is federal legislation in response to COVID-19.
Texas employees: there is too much information coming at you right now. So, we summarized it. Just remember, to KISS (please, share with anyone who might need this):
Note: The links in the chart below are accessible at the bottom of this document.
K-I-S-S COVID-19 Texas Employee Response Plan
K: Keep calm. The federal government has already passed one emergency paid leave act and more emergency legislation is on the way. This is a rapidly changing situation, and individual employers and employees have little control over it. Employment laws, when they apply, are generally reactive not proactive. That means that even if your employer breaks the law and will ultimately owe you money back, it may be a while before you get it. For now, just document what is happening and stay calm.
I: Insist on a safe workplace and fair pay. Laws generally require employers to keep the workplace safe. Texas law generally prohibits employers for firing you for refusing to commit a crime (i.e., to violate a mandatory shelter-in-place order). Other laws prohibit most employers from firing employees with disabilities.Assert your rights as a group whenever possible. There is strength in numbers.Do NOT sign away your rights if you can avoid it. Talk to your coworkers and get a group together to ask for a better outcome.
S: Stay up to date on your rights. The new Emergency FMLA and paid leave law (the FFCRA) takes effect April 1. It provides for paid leave for some employees. Be sure to understand your rights. Like normal FMLA, employees’ jobs are protected while on leave.If you are laid off, you probably have the right to unemployment. Apply with TWC immediately (TWC has waived the waiting week and work search requirements). You may also qualify if you are working reduced hours or for reduced pay. If your employer is breaking the law, consult with a lawyer.
S: Stay at home if you are sick. Period.
* Nothing in this blog post is, should be considered, or should be substituted for legal advice. If you need legal assistance, consult with a lawyer.