Employee Liability Waivers: What to Consider
You may be putting you and your business at deeper risk
Many businesses are considering requiring employees to sign liability waivers as a condition of returning to work. These waivers ask employees to acknowledge and bear the potential health risks of contracting COVID-19 on the job.
It's an issue that continues to be up for debate in Washington. As the next round of coronavirus relief legislation looms, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had made liability protection a "top priority" for his conference and Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) reportedly says there will be no bill passed without it. Meanwhile, Congressional Democrats and labor unions say some businesses aren't appropriately protecting workers from the virus. In their view, waivers might encourage companies to create unsafe conditions. Some states, including Alabama, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Utah, have issued executive orders or passed legislation that offers businesses more protection should workers or customers get sick.
Denise Rousseau, professor of organizational behavior and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, says the waivers could be the result of a lack of government assistance when it comes to clarity on the liability.
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