As states reopen amid the ongoing pandemic, employers and business owners are worried about their potential liability for the spread of the virus.
If an employee or customers contracts COVID-19, do they have grounds to sue? This is not a theoretical worry, it is already happening, and as of yet, no real legal precedent has been set. Congress has debated over including a liability waiver for businesses during the outbreak and the White House has also voiced their support for businesses and employers. However, this is a more complicated situation than it initially seems.
First, a customer or employee must prove that they contracted the virus at their workplace. And second, they must be able to prove that their employer/company acted negligently toward their health. This is a tall order given the prevalence of the virus and the loose reopening guidelines issued by the government. Read more about the difficulties in proving workplace negligence in reference to COVID-19 here.
In addition, while it appears to be a good idea to protect work places from being sued over a widespread and novel virus, giving them a liability waiver could encourage unsafe business practices that come at the expense of workers.
For now, many workplaces have workman’s compensation agreements that protect them, and it will be difficult for most employees and customers trying to prove the origin of their infection along with negligence.
What can you do as an employer to ensure your protection and that your employees and customers are safe? It is imperative to follow CDC and state guidelines and to continue to monitor for updates.
Read our blog post here for state specific best practices.
Read here for more details about liability and best practices.
Yours in Strength,
The Take Back Control Team