Employers Shouldn’t be Held Liable for Getting COVID
A recent survey shows that 21 percent of Montanans believe that employers should be liable to pay compensation should an employee contract Covid-19 in the workplace. Nationally, 38 percent believe the employer should be held responsible, in a survey done by Gomez Trial Attorneys.
As business slowly starts to pick up following Coronavirus-related restrictions, companies across America are addressing how they can create a safe space for their employees or customers. However, as Congress has recently been debating, there exists the potential for lawsuits to be filed against businesses should their staff or customers contract Covid-19.
A number of states have acted to extend liability protection to businesses. It will undoubtedly be an issue before the 2021 Montana State Legislature. The US National Chamber of Commerce has pushed for the provision to become a nationwide protection for business owners as part of the next Congressional package for COVID benefits. Harold Kim, President of the US Chamber, said during a recent virtual conference in Montana that more than 30 states have already “done something” in that regard, adding that “it shouldn’t be a partisan issues.”
The survey release pose the question, “Does the government side with workers who want their safety to be prioritized above anything else, or beleaguered employers who fear resulting lawsuits pose an existential threat to their businesses following extended periods of lockdown?”
Broken down across the country, the survey found that West Virginians felt most strongly about “protecting employees’ rights,” with 75% saying businesses should not be protected from legal blame if workers contract Coronavirus. Comparatively, South Dakotans felt most strongly about protecting businesses during this time, with only 11% agreeing that employers should be held liable.
One method many companies will adopt as they re-open their workspaces is to take everyone’s temperature regularly. Employees feel reassured that temperature checks are a positive way of protecting their health, as the survey found that over three-quarters (76%) believe they should be compulsory each time you enter their place of work. If a person’s temperature is over a certain degree, they could be instructed to go home and seek medical advice.
There are also ongoing debates on the issue of privacy regarding personal data involved in temperature checks. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of employees say their personal data obtained via temperature checks should be kept confidential. Re-introducing workers back into the workplace has not only brought up issues related to health and privacy, but also finance. For example, if Covid-19 testing or temperature checks take place outside of official work hours, should workers be compensated for their time? The survey found that 58% of employees feel they should be compensated, for example for testing before work, during lunch or after hours.
‘In the midst of a global pandemic, it is vitally important to know your rights – whether an employee, employer, or customer’ says a spokesperson for Gomez Trial Attorneys.