Iowa is an employee at-will state like most states. There are some protections under employment laws like the FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act), ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), violation of public policy, retaliatory discharge, collective bargaining agreements with unions, etc. However, the general rule is that your employer can fire you for any or no reason at all.
However, you may have an employment law claim and if you can prove you were exposed to the Coronavirus- Covid 19 at work and became sick because of it then you may also have a valid worker's compensation claim.
How Do I Prove I Was Exposed to Coronavirus- Covid 19 at Work?
First of all, if you suspect that you have been exposed you should immediately notify your employer and fill out an injury report. If they do not have a written or online injury report for you to complete, then you should send them a detailed letter stating that you were exposed at work, the symptoms you are having and request medical care. Regardless, of how you notify your employer please keep copies of any and all documents reporting your injury. Injury reports sometimes seem to get lost by employers later on when they claim they were not notified of the injury. Iowa law provides up to 90 days from when you knew or should have known that a condition was work-related, but it is the best practice to report it in writing right away.
What Happens After I Report My Coronavirus- Covid 19 Work Injury?
They should promptly provide you with medical care, but it is common for your employer and/or their insurance company to investigate your claim before agreeing to pay you benefits or even send you to a doctor. If you need medical care during their investigation period then, by all means, use your health insurance and get help. If you have a serious illness, then waiting for medical care is the last thing that you want to do. If later on, the insurance company admits that your condition is work-related or a judge orders them to provide care and compensation, then who paid for your medical bills and reimbursement can be taken care of.
Can I Sue My Employer for Not Providing Me with PPE (personal protective equipment)?
Under Iowa law you cannot sue your employer for negligence. However, there is a very limited claim for what is called gross negligence in which you have to prove that it was more likely than not that the actions or inactions of a co-employee would lead to your injuries. This is a very high standard and you have to sue your co-employee who oftentimes would be your supervisor, the safety supervisor, etc.
To learn more about Iowa work injuries and how you may be compensated for a work-related Coronavirus- Covid 19 injury, request a copy of our new book, Iowa Workers' Compensation- An Insider's Guide to Work Injuries Click Here. We offer our book to you at no cost or risk because we have seen far too many hard-working Iowans make costly mistakes causing them to lose thousands of dollars and sometimes their entire case. If you need immediate assistance or have questions then please feel free to call us at (641) 792-3595 or Contact Us Here. We will take the time to listen to your story, give you advice and tell you if we think you need a lawyer or not. That's right, there are some work injury cases where it does not make sense to hire a lawyer.