Across the country, most states have either reopened for business or started a new phase of relaxed restrictions for COVID-19. As workers return to their offices and grocery store employees serve ever greater numbers of customers, what will business liability for COVID-19 look like?
Although he primarily focuses his practice on criminal defense, Attorney Joe Tamburino is also experienced in personal injury and employment law, and as such, he is often asked to share his legal insights on complex civil liability matters. Most recently, he was asked to discuss employer liability for COVID-19 on WCCO This Morning by CBS Minnesota.
During a special segment on the COVID-19 outbreak, Attorney Joe Tamburino explains that any type of on-the-job injury should typically be covered by workers’ compensation insurance – and for many workers, that could reasonably include COVID-19 infection. However, there can be legal difficulties in proving where an individual contracted COVID-19.
While first responders and medical personnel are presumed to face higher risks of coronavirus infection under the current laws, sandwich shop workers, grocery store workers, and baristas do not enjoy the same presumption. According to Tamburino, this means “someone who works at Lunds or Cub Foods, if they got COVID-19, they would actually have to prove that they got it on the job in order to be covered by workers’ compensation.”
Tamburino was also asked a common question by a viewer, on whether employers can force workers to return if they are uncomfortable with that decision. In response, Tamburino said that once the order for your workplace is lifted, you must return to work to keep your job, unless you have a medical reason. If you do have a legitimate medical reason, such as an underlying condition, then you might have a claim if your employer terminates you for failing to appear.
Do you have a concern about COVID-19 liability and need to speak with a lawyer? Call Caplan & Tamburino Law Firm, P.A. at (612) 444-5020 today to schedule a free consultation.