Zorn bill would protect employers following COVID-19 safety guidelines

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn has introduced legislation to protect employers from liability as long as they are in compliance with a COVID-19 public health guideline or regulation regarding worker safety.

“As Michigan businesses continue to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic, we should do all we can to incentivize employers to protect their workers and customers and also protect them from unreasonable and costly lawsuits,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “This is a simple solution that encourages job providers to take the responsible steps to provide a safe workplace and still holds them accountable if they fail to do so.”

Under Senate Bill 1019, an employee would not be eligible for paid compensation if their injury was the result of their exposure to COVID-19 during the state of emergency as long as the employer was in compliance with a federal or state law, regulation, executive order, or public health guidance regarding exposure to COVID-19.

The legislation would cover the time from the onset of the declared state of emergency, March 11, until there is no longer a state of emergency.

“To be clear, this is not blanket immunity to all businesses during the COVID-19 health crisis,” Zorn said. “The protections in my bill would only cover businesses that follow official guidance to protect workers and customers. Those who fail to take the applicable steps would not be protected.”

The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Economic and Small Business Development.