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November 23, 2020

Americans Support COVID Liability Protections For Employers

The U.S. Congress still is debating a fourth COVID-19 relief bill. One of the sticking points is whether to include a package of liability protections for businesses, nonprofit organizations, schools, and medical providers that make a good faith effort to protect employees, consumers, and students during this pandemic. How does the American public feel about this issue?

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform recently conducted a survey to find out. The poll indicated 79 percent of respondents agreed that, aside from cases of gross negligence, employers who follow the latest government guidelines should be protected from lawsuits. The survey also shows that strong majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents agree that Congress should pass liability protections.

Click here to read the full results of the survey.

As a reminder, earlier this year the Metals Service Center Institute joined with the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and dozens of other trade associations, to send a letter to congressional leaders asking for federal liability protections that are “appropriately tailored and limited to the present emergency and a reasonable period of recovery.”

Click here to read the letter.

The NAM has outlined a plan to protect businesses that calls for legislation that:

  • Limits lawsuits in state and federal courts claiming damages, and enforcement actions claiming penalties, based on COVID-19 exposure from essential manufacturing operations to instances where the manufacturer had actual knowledge that an individual would be exposed to COVID-19 and acted with reckless indifference or conscious disregard as to whether they would contract it;
  • Requires cases based on workplace transmission theories to be pled with particularity and to meet a clear and convincing evidence standard;
  • Acknowledges the ever-evolving patchwork of available advice, industry practices, and state responses that combine to make identifying a clear standard of care nearly impossible; and
  • Providing employers with a safe harbor for collecting and exchanging critical information related to employees’ health status and for implementing reasonable measures like temperature checks to combat workplace transmission of COVID-19.