As part of Employer Advantage’s comprehensive suite of HR management and outsourcing services (HR, Payroll, Health & Benefits, Safety), we are assisting our clients in determining their best path during, and after, the Coronavirus pandemic. Please contact us if you would like assistance with any of your Employee Administration and Compliance responsibilities: Info@EmployerAdvantage.com | 877.476.9520

 

While some employers took swift action to implement COVID-19 safety guidelines and vaccination mandates, many – especially those of small and mid-sized companies – had a “wait and see” approach. Understandably, many businesses finding it difficult to keep up with staffing needs wanted to avoid upsetting or losing employees over COVID guidelines. Many employers decided to wait for federal government mandates to dictate company protocols. 

 

Due to the confusion over COVID-19 vaccination mandates – some of which are being blocked or banned on both the state and federal level – companies not moving forward with their own Coronavirus vaccination mandate and strict masking and testing policy may find themselves at greater risk for future Wrongful Death Lawsuits and Personal Injury Claims.

 

Workers’ Compensation Injury and Death Claims Can Be Bypassed by COVID Lawsuits 

Historically, the Workers’ Compensation system exclusively handled these types of claims. But a California Court of Appeal decision may foreshadow the end of a long-standing workers’ compensation exclusive remedy provision, sometimes referred to as the “grand bargain.”

This decision could have significant consequences in workplaces across the country. The court concluded that the exclusive remedy doctrine – a legal principle existing in most states that typically blocks injury and death workplace lawsuits in favor of workers’ compensation claims – cannot prevent a See’s Candies employee from bringing a wrongful death claim against the candy maker.

The detail of this decision that will most likely impact businesses is that it was based on the employee’s claims, which were directly tied to allegations that the employer failed to take adequate measures to squelch the spread of the virus in the workplace. She claims she contracted Covid-19 at work and passed it on to her husband, who later died.

The best way to defend a wrongful death or personal injury lawsuit is to prevent it from ever occurring.

This California decision highlights the importance of employers to maintain vigilance in complying with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) COVID-19 workplace safety guidelines and related legal requirements.

While the decision was in California courts, California often leads the country in changing long-standing employment laws. This one decision could mean many employers in states throughout the US will find themselves facing similar court rulings.

 

Click here to see our other helpful “Blog for All Employers” 

 

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About Employer Advantage

A New Path to HR Bliss – Trusted for more than 30 years, Employer Advantage frees you from the administrative and compliance burdens of having employees so you can focus on your business success. Versatile enough for companies of all sizes, our unique service combines comprehensive management of your employee administration and compliance with the latest software solutions, tailored to meet your individual needs and company culture. Our full-service management of Human Resourcespayrollhealth and benefits, workplace safety, and more enhance your profitability while reducing the costs and risks associated with employment law compliance. We provide your employees with top-notch assistance and benefits that help you increase productivity, save time and money, and attract and retain a talented workforce. And for small and mid-sized businesses, we bring you economy of scale with access to Fortune-500-level benefits, specialty assistance, and savings that would not be possible to attain on your own. Headquartered in the Midwest and serving more than 500 companies and 10,000 worksite employees throughout the country, Employer Advantage is an IRS-Certified Professional Employer Organization (PEO) (CPEO). Experienced, certified, and trusted. www.EmployerAdvantage.com