Rabhi Introduces Legislation to Protect Workers in Coronavirus Crisis

Tuesday, March 17, 2020
  • Many workers lack even unpaid leave at their jobs, and many more receive very limited leave. In light of COVID-19 concerns, many Michiganders have been quarantined or self-isolating. Many more are caring for 1.5 million children under age 13 affected by school closures.
  • Protecting workers from retaliation and job loss will help those workers, limit damage to the Michigan economy, and encourage compliance with public health measures.
  • Rep. Rabhi’s bill would protect workers from retaliation if they have to miss work during a declared emergency due to quarantine, medically recommended self-isolation, illness, caregiving or school closures. Each worker could recover the greater of $5000 or actual damages plus costs and fees.

LANSING, Mich. —As Michiganders take extraordinary measures to protect public health, many workers are caught between complying with public health measures and risking their jobs and incomes. Democratic Floor Leader Yousef Rabhi (D-Ann Arbor) today introduced a bill to enable people to comply with public health measures without fearing retaliation from their employers.

“It’s hard enough dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and the disruption caused by necessary measures to slow its spread. Michiganders shouldn’t have to worry that they will be fired or punished if they do the right thing to protect everyone,” Rep. Rabhi said. “It is in no one’s interest for workers to be coming in sick, but many feel trapped by inhumane leave policies.”

Rep. Rabhi’s bill would bar employers from taking adverse action against workers who are complying with public health measures during a declared emergency. The protections would apply to workers who have been formally quarantined, who are self-isolating due to illness, or who are caring for an ill family member or a child under 13.

“Michiganders are rising to the call to protect their families and communities,” Rep. Rabhi said. “We need to protect them in turn.”

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