If You Get Sick with COVID-19, Is Your Employer Liable?
Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, there has been a great impact on all the industrial as well as business sectors. To break the chain of the coronavirus, guidelines were laid down by the government authorities to wear masks and follow up social distancing. People were asked not to leave their house, whatever be the situation. Due to these restrictions, offices and businesses were shut down for a long period. People have suffered financial losses and have lost their jobs.
After about 6 to 7 months, people are trying to get their lives back on track. This also means that they are risking their lives because the virus can be transmitted from anywhere. The people who work in healthcare institutes or grocery or at chemist are the frontline employees. They take a risk each day when they report for duty.
While working amidst COVID-19, you might get infected and you are sure to get it through your work because you are constantly in touch with the people. In such situations, you might wonder whether your employer should be held accountable for this. Not just you, but most of the employees would think that if they get sick with COVID-19, is their employer liable?
Well, the laws always keep changing, whether it is Florida or any other state. So it is essential that you keep yourself prepared for each and every situation. COVID-19 is completely new, so it is obvious to think whether there would be any law to support worker’s compensation when they are affected with coronavirus. Well, here are some details which would help you in determining whether you have a case.
Legal Rights Of State Employees – Employer Liability For COVID-19 Workers Compensation Claims in Florida:
Well, according to the new laws, the employees in Florida have the right to claim workers’ compensation for COVID-19 infection if they are state employees in frontline positions. All the State of Florida employees, such as police officers, EMTs, healthcare staff, sanitation staff, and other frontline workers, are considered eligible for receiving worker’s compensation protection if they contract COVID-19. This right is offered to the frontline workers because the State of Florida Officials issued a directive which claims that frontline workers who have been infected by the virus due to their work should receive compensation.
Well, so now you know about the rights if you are a state employee. But what if you are not a state employee?
The Rights Of COVID-19 Employee Liability and Non-State Employees:
Well, if you are not a state employee and get sick due to the COVID-19 infection, the question of employer liability for COVID-19 claims is still not clear. The clarity is not provided in this situation because of the lack of clarity whether you can be included as a frontline employee. Besides this, in the conventional Florida workers’ compensation laws there is no mention of the COVID-19 illness and also the law does not cover ordinary, common illnesses.
According to the conventional worker’s compensation law, an employee cannot hold the employer liable for common cold or flu. This is due to the fact that illnesses like common cold and flu are considered as non-hazardous for daily living and can happen due to a lot of factors including your lifestyle, your eating habits, and the locality you live in. But the characteristics of the Coronavirus pandemic are not just of the common flu, it is a deadly virus that can cause severe organ failure. So in such a situation, you need to prove that you have been infected by COVID-19 due to work. How will you prove it?
Although it is quite hard to analyze where exactly you got sick. If you are traveling to work through public transport and your work is to constantly deal with people, then you won’t know how you got infected.
If you are a non-state employee and are able to track the spread of the virus, they may have a claim for employer liability. In order to win the case, you need to prove that the staff or people or the surrounding you are working in have higher infection rates. Alternatively, you can also show that you have been exposed to the risk of the COVID-19 due to the type of work responsibility. In such a situation you would be able to take legal action and your employer would be liable to provide you appropriate compensation. Some of the employment types (State Employees and Non-State Employees) in which the employee may be able to win workers’ compensation for a COVID-19 illness:
- Grocery store workers
- Delivery drivers
- Truck drivers
- Food supply chain workers
- Healthcare workers, including doctors, nurses, nurse’s aides, and support staff
- Restaurant employees offering to-go food
- First responders like police, EMTs, and firefighters
So if you are an employee who has been infected by the COVID-19 virus due to work responsibilities, then you can get help from expert attorneys in Florida to claim for the workers’ compensation.