Returning to Work During the Pandemic

  • Recorded on: May 20, 2020

  • Length: 45 minutes


Do you have questions about returning to work during the coronavirus pandemic? In this 45-minute webinar, employment lawyers Sara Forte and Jim Wu answer common questions being asked by British Columbians who are being called back to work.


In this webinar, you will learn:

  • What workers can do if they don’t feel safe returning to work. [5:45]

  • Six safety measures established by WorkSafeBC that your employer must follow. [6:45]

  • The factors a court will consider in assessing whether a change in your job amounts to a constructive dismissal. [12:10]

  • Risks to be weighed before asserting a claim for constructive dismissal [14:30], including risks to your eligibility to receive employment insurance (EI) benefits. [15:25

  • A framework for having a difficult conversation with your employer, using as an example a request to continue to work from home. [18:00]

  • Your rights in relation to who is called back and in what order, and what amounts to discrimination. [26:40

  • What happens to protected leave for parents with school-aged children. [29:45]

  • What happens if you decide not to return to work. [31:40]

  • The obligation on employees to self isolate — and corresponding obligation of employers to enforce it — where employees display certain symptoms. [38:45]

  • Situations where employers need to provide masks to their employees. [41:30]

  • How to prepare for a conversation with your employer if you’re experiencing anxiety or other mental illness that prevents you from returning to work. [43:45]  


Sara Forte

Sara Forte

Sara Forte is an employment lawyer and founder of Forte Law – Employment Law Solutions. Her practice is focused on solving work-related legal problems, from hiring to firing and everything in between. She grew up in Langley, BC. After attending law school in Ontario, then working and living outside Surrey for a few years, her valley girl roots brought her back home to South Surrey to raise her family and run her law practice.

Jim Wu

Jim Wu

Jim Wu is an employment lawyer with Forte Workplace Law. He drafts and reviews job offers and severance packages, and fights for and defends against wrongful dismissal claims. A former EI adjudicator, he also advises on the ins and outs of employment insurance and represents both employees and employers at the Social Security Tribunal. He is a mentor for the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers, and can offer services in Mandarin and Shanghiese in addition to English.

Attendee feedback

"Thank you for soooo much for all the information that helps me a lot!"

"Thanks for such relevant information. Have a great day!"

"Thanks for organizing this Q & A. Very enlightening!"

"Thank you. The presentation is a good help to start a conversation going in and out of the workplace with direction."

"These webinars are fantastic. Thank you so much! I use the materials for myself and my employment clients."

"Great information and extremely helpful to our legal program."

"Thanks for the webinar, it was informative and you did not go over the 45 mins. It is appreciated."

Additional resources 

WorkSafeBC resources about safety in the workplace during COVID-19.

Forte Law’s blog posts on coronavirus questions.

Resources from People’s Law School: 

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This website explains in a general way the law that applies in British Columbia, Canada. The information is not intended as legal advice. The cases we refer to reflect real experiences, but names have been changed. See our full disclaimer.

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