As COVID-19 continues into 2021, sanitation protocols have increased for businesses reopening to keep employees and patrons safe. However, despite everyone’s best efforts, workplace contraction is still taking place, causing many employees to seek retribution after falling ill. Many believe employers should treat exposure to COVID-19 as a workplace injury by compensating infected staff and paying for medical bills.
Currently, employees exposed to the virus at work can’t seek legal action, mainly because contact tracking is challenging to pin-down. However, if COVID-19 were to fall under workplace accidents, employees could receive compensation for medical costs, and employers could avoid potential lawsuits. Regardless, workplace injuries and reimbursement regulations are complicated and myth-ridden, which means if COVID-19 becomes a viable injury, debunking misconceptions is necessary.
Myth #1: You can’t sue your employer for workplace injury
Many employees are under the impression that suing your place of employment for negligence will end in expensive lawsuits, job loss, and financial ruin. However, most workers are subject to employment law protection and can seek retribution without fear of adverse consequences. In fact, most employers dealing with long-term, severe injuries are supportive and helpful during the healing process, offering flexible hours upon return and repayment for medical bills.
In today’s age, lawsuits generally do not cost people their jobs, and insurance companies typically pay for damages instead of the employer. However, many injuries— including the contraction of COVID-19— cannot be claimed without detailed documentation. Often, proving your employer knowingly exposed you or isn’t taking proper safety protocols is complex.
If you find yourself faced with the decision to sue your employer based on negligence resulting in injury, contact legal representatives from Schwartzapfel Lawyers to start your case off on the right foot.
Myth #2: A hazard-free workplace is too hard to attain
Even before the surface of COVID-19, many people believed it was impossible to create a hazard-free workplace because of the time and money involved in implementing safety protocols. However, creating a safe workplace can be as simple as requiring frequent sanitation efforts and implementing a mask-on policy. Additionally, an inexpensive and straightforward way to ensure a safe environment is by offering remote work options.
Myth #3: Employers are entirely responsible
Many employees assume that workplace safety is entirely up to the employer. In other words, if anything were to go wrong, employers take the fall. However, employees play a part in their safety and can disqualify themselves from worker’s compensation by engaging in unsafe behavior.
While it’s true, COVID-19 workplace lawsuits may be on the horizon, proving contraction from the workplace is nearly impossible, and individual actions from irresponsible staff bar them from seeking legal action. However, if the employer doesn’t supply employees with sanitation resources, refuses to implement safety protocols, or forces staff to work in unsafe environments, employees may have the right to legal action.
Myth #4: You don’t need a safe workplace
If you work in a space where contraction risk is low, you might consider protective measures unnecessary. Similarly, if you are young and healthy, you may believe your low-risk status enough to keep you safe at work. However, regardless of pre-existing conditions and age, you could contract COVID-19 without engaging in proper protocols at work. Not only should your employer supply you with necessary sanitation equipment and resources, but you should also be implementing healthy hygienic practices to keep yourself safe.
COVID-19 has changed how people view workplace accidents and has exacerbated myths about workplace accidents. Compensation for any workplace accident—including COVID-19—can be challenging to procure, especially for people dealing with the effects of fast-spreading infections. However, it’s critical to understand your rights as an employee, follow safety protocols in place, and hold your employers accountable.