Some of our business clients have contacted us regarding potential liability to employees and or customers related to exposure to COVID-19.
Worker’s Compensation Claims for COVID-19
If an employee is exposed to or contracts COVID-19 it would be similar to any other exposure to a community-spread illness like a cold or the flu. It would be very difficult to tie it directly to a work-related injury, like an accident or an injury at a workplace. If an employee is exposed to COVID-19 while at work, or in furtherance of the business owners’ employment responsibilities, as could be the case for first responders or health care workers, the claim could be processed as a regular workers compensation injury, just like a broken leg.
Therefore, for employers who are worried about liability to employees for potential exposure to COVID-19, other than taking reasonable precautions to avoid exposure, the best thing you can do is make sure your worker’s compensation insurance is in force and that you have appropriate coverages.
Some states, including Utah, have recently passed legislation which includes COVID-19 exposure at work or as a result of work activity, as one of the illnesses or injuries for which employers are immune from suit, meaning it is covered by workers’ compensation statutes.
Liability for COVID-19 Exposure to Clients or Customers
For employers who are concerned about liability to business invitees for potential exposure to COVID-19, in addition to having a general liability insurance policy in place, it is important to create a safety plan and educate all of your employees in the best practices to implement while fulfilling their job responsibilities in order to keep themselves and your business customers safe.
If you would like to discuss in greater detail how you as a business owner can reduce your risk of liability related to COVID-19, please call and speak to one of Fillmore Spencer’s experienced Employment Lawyers.
Mark D. Stubbs is a founding partner at Fillmore Spencer. Mark has been practicing law for more than 40 years in the states of Utah, Idaho, and Arizona. He seeks the most effective and economical solutions to business, employment, and other legal matters confronting his clients, who hail from all around the state of Utah. Mark currently focuses his practice on business disputes, employment law, mediation and arbitration, business planning and organization, contracts, and negotiations.