For the last several months, employers have been required to learn how COVID-19 spreads, how to maintain or resume safe work environments, and how to navigate a complex web of new and existing laws and regulations implicated by the pandemic. Employers have also had to contend with a growing wave of COVID-19–related employment litigation and agency actions. Below are answers to a number of questions that employers may have regarding liability and litigation as businesses are reopening.
Analysis of COVID-19–Related Employment Litigation
Analysis of COVID-19–Related Agency Filings Nationwide
Not only is COVID-19 litigation on the rise, but recent data indicates that agency actions are also increasing, in some cases exponentially.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has listed as a top legislative goal a broad safe harbor from COVID-19 related lawsuits for businesses tied to guidelines set out by the CDC and state health authorities. Opponents take the position that such safe harbors are unnecessary and would be overly broad. While the federal adoption of a liability shield is debated in Washington, D.C., states have begun to take action to help businesses mitigate the potential exposure.
Litigation Shield Legislation
Workers’ Compensation Legislation
Ogletree Deakins has launched the COVID-19 Litigation Practice Group to track and respond to COVID-19 related litigation. Ogletree Deakins will continue to monitor and report on developments with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic and will post updates in the firm’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center as additional information becomes available.
Important information for employers is also available via the firm’s webinar programs. The COVID-19 Litigation Practice Group will present a COVID-19 webinar series throughout 2020 to discuss trends related to COVID-19 employment litigation.