How-to-Protect-Your-Employee-Rights-During-Covid-19-ASM-Lawyers.jpg (2149×1159)Covid-19 (commonly known as Coronavirus) is front and center in the minds of everyone across the world. In the United States, preparations are underway for a potential spread of the virus further into the country. With the potential of the labor force becoming diagnosed with the illness, employers have to be aware of the best ways to respond, including prevention and employee rights. According to Steven Schwartzberg with, foreign countries have taken steps to close schools and even certain businesses, advocating for opportunities to work from home as much as possible. In the heart of the outbreak, quarantines have been put into place to minimize the impact of the disease. Schwartzberg goes on to identify the following symptoms commonly exhibited: 

What makes the virus so frightening to people is that exposure will not necessarily yield significant symptoms, and even more pronounced symptoms may take several days to appear. It is also such a concern because there is not currently a vaccine to immunize against the virus. The following is helpful information for employers to know how to best support their employees and to understand their rights as they relate to the response to this virus. 

Rights Under FMLA

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows employees to take time for certain family medical reasons and even personal medical reasons if they have a serious health concern. Jeff Nowak with Littler writes “clearly, employees with the coronavirus and employees with a child, spouse, or parent infected by the coronavirus are entitled to FMLA leave,” requiring of course that they fall within the definitions of FMLA-eligible employees. This means that employers should be prepared to extend this without question or hesitation. 

Transmission of Covid-19

With ongoing investigation about Covid-19, there is more being learned all the time. As of now, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), it is “respiratory secretions” that account for the spread of the virus. This occurs when infected people sneeze or cough. This type of transmission is a result of close contact. OSHA goes on to report that close contact is typically within approximately six feet. This transmission is similar to the way influenza is spread. Employers should encourage all staff to avoid close contact with those that are sick. Furthermore, reminders to staff about washing hands, covering the mouth when coughing and sneezing, and keeping a distance from sick individuals is in the best interest of all employers to avoid Covid-19 and any other viral infection. 

Preventative Measures by Employers

An employer would be well advised to extend additional remote work (from home) options to employees that have potentially exposed to Covid-19. If they are not symptomatic but have been exposed, working from home may be a good option. It may be worth making reasonable alterations or accommodations to allow an employee to do this to prevent the potential spreading of the virus. If this accommodation can be made, it should not count against the employee’s allotted FMLA days, as they are not symptomatic, and able to work. In addition to this, washing hands with soap and water for more than 20 seconds is a necessary prevention method. Keeping distance from sick people and keeping surfaces commonly touched (doorknobs, desks, keyboards, telephones, etc.) disinfected is also a common and effective prevention method. 

Careers at Higher Risk

Certain careers are at greater risk of being exposed to Covid-19. Those working in the healthcare industry are considered at greater risk because of their exposure to symptomatic individuals. Others that work in the airline industry, or at borders and points of entry into the United States are also potentially exposed to those carrying the virus. At this time, those that travel to countries that have a greater number of cases should as a part of their job, should not travel until further notice. Employers should be aware of travel restrictions and plan accordingly for their employees. 

Employee Protections

Not every employer watches out for their employees and their well being as they should. With the spread of Covid-19, there are many practices that can help in the prevention of the virus that employers will simply not put into place. Fighting against unfair business practices against their employees is what we do best. Our law firm  is ready to fight for your rights and help you in the event of unfair practices and a failure to adhere to the law.

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Lisseth Bayona


Education and Background

I am a Los Angeles native and daughter of Salvadorian immigrants. From an early age, my parents instilled the value of hard work and education in me and my two siblings. Their perseverance enabled each of us to graduate from college and earn professional degrees.

My interest and commitment to workers’ rights have roots in my parents’ experiences as undocumented workers in Los Angeles. Witnessing the challenges they faced inspired me to pursue a career where I can help individuals confronted with similar struggles. To help someone in those moments is very satisfying. I love connecting with people and learning about their stories. I believe that dignity in the workplace is a right of all workers, not a convenience or privilege reserved for employees of a certain race, gender, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Legal Experience

I received my J.D. from the University of Southern California (USC) Gould School of Law. While there, I served as a judicial extern to the Honorable Patrick J. Walsh of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, where I drafted a criminal judicial opinion. Also, while at Gould, I served as an extern for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. As a Criminal Division Extern, I had the opportunity to work closely with a trial team of Assistant U.S. Attorneys on a money laundering case which further sparked my interest in litigation.

Personal Interests

In my free time, I enjoy urban vegetable gardening, traveling, and spending time with my nephew and niece. I also love to spend time at San Onofre Beach learning to surf, although admittedly, I am not very good.



Hallie L. Von Rock

Attorney (SBN 233152)

Education and Background

I moved to the Bay Area from Washington after graduating high school. I had been accepted to UC Berkeley through a program where I could defer for two years while getting my California residency and attending community college, which was significant since I was paying for college on my own. I began working for Randall Aiman-Smith and Reed Marcy in 1996 as an office manager while taking night classes. My first foray into the legal world was soon after starting at the firm when I was ready to transfer to UC Berkeley. Rather than accepting my resident status, the Board of Regents took the position that California residency required a student to be in California “two calendar years.” Randall and Reed took up my case with the same verve as they helped their actual clients and I got the chance to comb through the UC Berkeley library to read their codes and regulations to support my position. In that experience, I learned what is was like to feel helpless against a big organization and then to have dedicated attorneys in my corner to take up my cause.

After a break to pursue my major in art history, I went to UC Hastings College of Law and continued working with Randall and Reed. Having worked together now for over 25 years, we have a unique ability to work collaboratively and finish each other’s sentences. I have strived throughout my career to make a difference in the lives of our clients. At the end of the day, if I am helping someone to get compensation for losses they suffered, then I know that all the work put into a case has been worth it.

Legal Experience

I have extensive experience in civil litigation and class action cases, including conducting discovery and depositions, calculating damages analysis, preparing motions for certification, writing appellate documents, and overseeing claims administration. We have handled several class actions against retailers where plaintiffs claimed they were forced to purchase clothing to wear to work and were not compensated for these purchases, including against Abercrombie & Fitch, Hugo Boss, Armani Exchange, Uniqlo, Dollar Tree, and Ross. Recently, I was trial counsel in a defamation claim against Bank of America on behalf of a former employee who claimed the Bank blacklisted her with future employers. The jury found Bank of America liable, including for punitive damages.

Personal Interests

Aiman-Smith & Marcy has sponsored me in the Boston Marathon and New York Marathon. When I race, I often wear a “Rockstar Ronan” shirt to support research for childhood cancer through The Ronan Thompson Foundation.


University of California, Berkeley, B.A., 1999

Hastings College of the Law, University of California, J.D., 2004

Randall Aiman-Smith

Abogado (SBN 124599)

Aiman-Smith & Marcy. Oakland consumer fraud attorneys.

Educación y antecedentes

Fui afortunado. A pesar de no haber terminado la escuela secundaria o la universidad, pude -aunque con mucho trabajo- ser admitido y sobresalir en una de las mejores escuelas de derecho del país: La Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Berkeley. Mientras estuve allí, tuve el privilegio de ser editor de la California Law Review y miembro del Moot Court Board, asesorando en la redacción de escritos y en la defensa de apelaciones a otros estudiantes. Después de salir de la escuela de derecho, en mis primeros años de práctica, enseñé la escritura legal y la defensa de apelación en la Universidad de California, Hastings College of the Law. También, a lo largo de los años, he sido presentador en eventos de educación legal continua.

Experiencia legal

He sido abogado durante 35 años. He dedicado mi práctica exclusivamente a representar a empleados, consumidores e inversores en los tribunales estatales y federales de primera instancia y en los tribunales de apelación. Me gusta ir a los tribunales por mis clientes y he llevado muchos casos con jurado en los tribunales estatales y federales.

¿Ejemplos? En 2010, fui la abogada principal, junto con los otros abogados del bufete, en el caso Williams v. Union Pacific Railroad donde, después de cuatro años de preparación, el bufete obtuvo un veredicto del jurado de 1.670.000 dólares para una empleada afroamericana. En Rivero v. Surdyka, fui el abogado principal en el juicio y la apelación de un caso de derechos civiles que duró 15 años, incluyendo un juicio completo y tres apelaciones al Noveno Circuito, concluyendo finalmente con una sentencia para los demandantes de más de 2.300.000 dólares. Estos casos ilustran el lema del bufete: compromiso – resultados. Hay que comprometerse con un caso, a veces durante mucho tiempo, para obtener el resultado que el cliente merece.

No siempre ganamos en el juicio. Cuando eso ocurre, el compromiso significa llevar el caso al siguiente nivel y recurrirlo. En el caso Rivero, antes mencionado, eso fue lo que ocurrió: el tribunal desestimó el caso -habíamos perdido- pero apelamos y conseguimos una victoria para nuestros clientes que mantuvimos a través de dos apelaciones más. Desde entonces, el bufete ha conseguido muchas victorias en apelación que reivindican los derechos de los empleados y los consumidores.

A lo largo de los años he sido abogado de los demandantes en numerosos casos individuales y acciones colectivas. Puede sonar cursi, o difícil de creer, pero después de todo este tiempo, y después de todas las grandes experiencias que he tenido, mi parte favorita de ser abogado es cuando consigo dar un cheque a mi cliente.



Facultad de Derecho, Universidad de California, Berkeley, J.D., 1986