As employees begin returning to work over the coming weeks, employers will face unique challenges created by the risk of workplace exposure to the coronavirus.  These risks take on an added urgency in a number of states where workers’ compensation coverage may not create an absolute bar to lawsuits related to workplace exposure to COVID-19.  In fact, such lawsuits have already commenced with the April 6, 2020 filing of Toney Evans v. Walmart, Inc., et al., No. 2020-L-003938 in Cook County, Illinois.  This first lawsuit has many employers – quite rightly – worried about whether the tort immunity typically provided by workers’ compensation laws will protect them given the unique nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The best response to mitigate this risk will be to conduct a comprehensive review of workplace health and safety practices to help minimize the risk of workplace transmission of COVID-19 while carefully evaluating additional ways to limit exposure as government restrictions subside.
Continue Reading Does workers’ compensation protect employers from liability arising from workplace transmission of COVID-19?