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Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Senator Turner to Introduce Legislation to Provide Employer Immunity from Lawsuits Related to Coronavirus

Congressman Mike Turner (OH-10) will introduce this week the Employer and Employee COVID Protection Act to eliminate barriers to reopening businesses, get Americans back to work, and empower employees to decide for themselves if they feel safe in their workplace. This legislation will provide all complying businesses with immunity from civil lawsuits if one of their employees contracts coronavirus after states permit businesses to reopen. It will also provide employees with heightened health concerns an opportunity to request special accommodations from their employer and allow them to maintain eligibility for unemployment benefits if they still feel their risk of contracting COVID in their workplace is too high.

“Many businesses are concerned about re-opening due to the risk associated with being held liable if one of their employees contracts coronavirus after coming back to work,” said Turner.“This bill is proactive and seeks to protect complying businesses and employees as we begin to restart the economy. Under this legislation, businesses that re-open and comply with federal and state safety laws will be immune to liability if an employee falls ill with coronavirus. Additionally, this bill protects employees by giving them the ability to raise specific health concerns with their employer.”

This bill addresses the following issues:
  1. Employer liability as businesses re-open: Under this legislation, employers that are in compliance with state and federal laws are immune to tort claims filed by employees who contract coronavirus after returning to their workplaces.
  2. Unemployment protection: Employees will be able to decide for themselves whether or not they feel safe staying at work. Employees will have the opportunity to raise specific health concerns with their employer. If the employee is still unsatisfied with their working conditions, they will be permitted to terminate their employment and, for purposes of eligibility for unemployment benefits, the termination will be “through no fault of their own.”
Related information:

Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman 1.973.696.7900 has been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

Blog: Workers ' Compensation
Twitter: jongelman
LinkedIn: JonGelman
LinkedIn Group: Injured Workers Law & Advocacy Group
Author: "Workers' Compensation Law" West-Thomson-Reuters

Updated: 05/07/2020