A Gilroy woman has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, saying she was wrongfully fired from her job by not reporting that her father-in-law died of Covid-19.
Jazz Silva was hired as a mail carrier for the Gilroy Post Office in February. According to Silva, as she was training in early March, her father-in-law, Gary Young, was admitted to the hospital. Young, a well-known employee of Lowe’s Home Improvement and Orchard Supply Hardware, died on March 17 at the age of 66 due to complications of Covid-19.
Silva said she last had contact with Young on March 2, and found out a week later that he had Covid-19. Silva said she did not have any symptoms, and was in contact with public health officials daily.
On March 19, Silva was called into her supervisor’s office, where she was shown a news article that described her father-in-law’s death.
Silva was told to return home, and she was fired a week later, she said.
“He told me that he was firing me because I was being selfish and reckless, and didn’t tell him that my father-in-law had Covid-19,” she said. “I was shocked.”
Silva, who filed the complaint with the EEOC in May, said she is still waiting to hear the results of the commission’s investigation as of Sept. 28.
Augustine Ruiz, a spokesperson for the post office, declined to comment, citing personnel matters and the ongoing EEOC case.
“This is a matter of privacy concerns for both the employee and the USPS,” he said.
Silva’s wife, Stacey, noted that the firing occurred during the beginning of the pandemic, when it wasn’t widely known that a person with Covid-19 could be asymptomatic.
“We were following what the CDC and Public Health told us,” she said. “We were asked to give our temperatures and check our symptoms.”
Stacey Silva said the loss of her father, as well as her mother 10 months prior, has been “very hard for all of us.”
“We feel like we have this dark cloud over us,” she said.
Jazz Silva said she would like to return to work at the post office, but at a different facility.
“This is especially hard for me,” she said. “It’s hard because I haven’t had an income since March. It’s very hard, very stressful.”