Your Rights as a Worker in the Time of Coronavirus

  • Recorded on: April 3, 2020

  • Length: 45 minutes


Has your job been impacted by the coronavirus? In this Q&A session with employment lawyer Sara Forte, learn about your rights as a worker, factors to consider in weighing your options, and steps you can take to be part of the solution.


In this webinar, you will learn:

  • The questions you should ask yourself if you think you’re at risk of losing your job. [11:45]

  • How you can “be part of the solution that keeps you working.” [13:15]

  • The bottom line about your employer’s right to lay you off ... and limits on that right. [15:30]

  • How the nature of your lay off — permanent or temporary — determines whether you’re eligible for severance pay. [20:30]

  • How your employer may be exempt from paying you severance if your employment has become “impossible to perform” because of “unforeseen circumstances.” [22:00]

  • How much severance will you get: three different ways severance can be determined. [27:00]

  • Another way severance can be exempted if your employment contract has become “impossible to perform.” [29:17]

  • Two reasons why you might agree to a temporary lay off. [30:10]

  • Two reasons why you might opt for termination instead. [31:30]

  • How accepting a termination with severance affects your employment insurance benefits. [33:30]

  • How some employers are offering continued benefits as a gesture of goodwill. [34:22]

  • What you can do if you still have a job but you don’t feel comfortable. (Not the same as asserting your right to refuse “unsafe work.”) [37:27]

  • Why you should think twice before quitting your job because you don’t feel comfortable. [40:26]

  • How new protected (unpaid) leave measures protect parents who need to stay home to care for their school-aged children. [43:35]

  • How you may be eligible to receive the Canada emergency response benefit if you’ve stopped work for reasons related to the coronavirus. [44:50]

  • What coronavirus-related resources are available from Forte Law and the People’s Law School. [46:52]


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.

Attendee feedback

“Extremely clear and concise! To the point.”

“Great to hear the preventative measures a worker might take.” 

“This was very engaging and helpful!”

“Really well structured presentation. Clear and easy to follow. Keep up the good work.” 

“Really very timely and responsive to the needs of workers and direct service providers. Much appreciated.”

“This was really well organized and presented. So clear!”

“Great way of breaking some things down for us.”

Resources mentioned in this webinar

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

British Columbia Employment Standards Branch information on unpaid, job-protected leaves of absence related to COVID-19.

The federal government’s Canada emergency response benefit.

Forte Law’s blog posts on coronavirus questions.

People’s Law School’s coverage of coronavirus legal questions.

People’s Law School’s Beagle, a chatbot that helps with common legal questions.

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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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