Should Your Business Have a COVID-19 Waiver for Employees and Customers?

Waivers are used in a variety of business contexts. Essentially, a liability waiver is executed by someone such as a customer or employee of the business and, thereby, the person assumes the risk as set forth in the liability waiver. Over the course of the pandemic, some businesses have attempted to protect themselves from liability should an employee or customer contract COVID-19 on the business premises and have tried to do so by having employees and customers sign COVID-19 liability waivers. The person executing the waiver agrees to assume the risk of contracting the virus on the business premises. Should your business have such a waiver in place?

Should Your Business Have a COVID-19 Waiver for Employees and Customers?

The answer to whether your business should have a COVID-19 waiver in place for employees and customers is that it depends. It depends on a number of factors and how things may change over time. You see, the COVID-19 pandemic has sent all of us into new territory which we are figuring out how to navigate every step of the way. Businesses were forced to shut down and close their doors and many relied on reopening in order to survive. Now that things have reopened, albeit with a sliding scale of trepidation, businesses may rightly be concerned about their possible liability exposure should an employee or customer contract COVID-19. After these businesses have been under such strain in the past few years, the prospect of prolonged, expensive litigation may be a fear they will look to keep at bay in any way possible.

Did you know that the New York Stock Exchange was requiring traders to sign a COVID-19 waiver prior to entering the trading floor? It’s true. Business owners have been considering the wisdom behind such a mandate. Customers and employees claiming to have contracted COVID-19 at a business could lead to a costly legal battle, especially considering the number of medical bills and more than those who have contracted COVID-19 can face.

Usually, when a worker is injured or contracts a job-related illness, they go through workers’ compensation. When it comes to COVID-19, however, there are too many questions that remain unanswered. You see, illnesses such as the cold or flu are not often covered under workers’ compensation laws. This is because colds and the flu are viewed as hazards of daily living, an exception to workers’ compensation coverage. There is a big question as to whether COVID-19 will be handled the same way. If so, workers’ compensation coverage would not kick in, and, instead, the business would be exposed to the prospect of being sued for an employee to recover compensation should the employee have contracted COVID-19 at work.

Business Law Attorneys

COVID-19 has brought unique legal questions and complications for businesses across the country. To help ensure that you are protecting your business in the best ways possible, talk to the team at Jones, Gregg, Creehan & Gerace about your options.  Contact us today.