Susan Gross Sholinsky, Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s New York office, was quoted in Business Insurance, in “Firms Consider COVID Waivers Before Bringing Workers Back Onsite,” by Angela Childers.

Following is an excerpt:

As employers make plans to bring their employees back to the workplace in the fall, questions over liability and responsibility are leading some to require workers to sign waivers or acknowledgments concerning COVID-19. However, experts question whether these documents may be necessary, advisable or even enforceable. …

The pandemic has raised significant questions over liability, with bills proposed at the federal level attempting to limit liability of employers for workers who become sick during the pandemic, and some states passing legislation to make it easier for employees who purportedly contract COVID-19 at work to receive workers compensation. …

However, there is a strong incentive for employers to want to limit their liability. …

While employees who refuse to sign a waiver of their company’s liability may have grounds to challenge their employer, those who refuse to sign an acknowledgment of new office protocols based on federal and state guidance to protect others and themselves from COVID-19 may be justifiably eliminated from the job site …

These acknowledgments are also helpful when workers want to return to the office or resume business travel but are not being required to as part of their job, said Susan Gross Sholinsky, New York-based member of Epstein Becker Green P.C.

“The purpose of that really is to show that the employer … is taking as many precautions as they can to ensure that employees are following the protocols if they come into the office,” she said. “It also certainly avoids the argument that somebody was unnecessarily made to come into the office.”

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