Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



The Covid-19 crisis has laid bare the fragility of social insurance systems in the United States and the lack of income security and basic benefits for many workers and residents. The United States has long had weaker protections for workers compared to other liberal democracies racial and economic disparities among those most affected by these dislocations (analyses are hampered by a paucity of demographic data). Those who were socially and economically vulnerable before the pandemic (for example due to homelessness, immigration status, or incarceration) are likely to suffer the most harm. Changes in workplace conditions as a result of the pandemic are borne disproportionality by low-income workers and workers of color. For instance, lower-income workers are more likely to be employed in jobs that increase their risk of exposure to the virus such as working in sanitation and janitorial services, food services and grocery stores, and in delivery. Yet the pandemic also eschews the imagined categories of who is deemed vulnerable or not. Its effects cannot be so easily contained, extending broadly into society – affecting a wide array of “gig” and service workers, health care workers, tenants, and students – and revealing our inevitable connections to one other.


Constitutional Law | Disability Law | Education Law | Family Law | Health Law and Policy | Housing Law | Labor and Employment Law | Law | Social Welfare Law


Read/download the book, Law in the Time of COVID-19.


Center for Constitutional Governance