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Ask a lawyer: Workplace Issues & Family Law

Text your questions Thursday 5:30 PM - 6 PM 336-379-5775

GREENSBORO, N.C. — There are just some issues that we need a lawyer to guide us. Tonight on 2WTK,  Nicole Patino from the Offices of Fred T. Hamlet and Hilary Hux from  Garrett, Walker, Aycoth & Olson will be here to answer your questions by text. Send in your questions at 336-379-5775.

Common questions we will answer about family law:

Are the courts open right now? 

What can I do if  I disagree with my child's other parent about how to handle ____________. (Insert: remote school v. in-person school v. private school; whether it is appropriate to take certain risks or precautions e.g travel/masks/eating out; getting our child vaccinated)

How long does it take to get a divorce? (must be separated for one year) Am I separated if my spouse and I are living in separate bedrooms?

Do courts favor mothers over fathers? (in regards to child custody)



Can your employer make you take the COVID-19 vaccine? 


Yes. In general, at-will employees can be mandated to get the COVID-19 vaccine by their employer in order to work at their business. However, there are exceptions.

If you get COVID-19 on the job, you could get workers' compensation. But if you choose not to come back to work, things aren't so black and white. 

FFCRA The Families First Coronavirus Response Act or FFCRA requires only certain employers are required to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded medical leave due to COVID-19.

Covered employers are public or private employers with fewer than 500 employees and small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may be exempt due to certain circumstances. This means most employers with 51 to 499 employees are covered under this special sick leave, but the rest are not.


“The government thought employers who had more than 500 employees would provide sick leave to their employees without facing hardship.  The government wanted those large employers to do the right thing, whether they do, that's up to them,” said Nicole Patino, an attorney at The Law Office of Fred T. Hamlet.

A viewer asked 2WTK:
Please look into employees being sent home for COVID issues and not being paid!!!!!! Or being made to use vacation time.

Patino says if the business is closed for cleaning due to COVID the employer may be able to require the employee to use their vacation time or unpaid time.   In North Carolina, if a facility is closed, let's say due to bad weather, employees who are not salary would not be entitled to pay under the law.

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