COVID in the Workplace

ELI5: Negligence

The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked thousands of legal questions from victims of the virus. While the virus has forced many people to work from home, others sadly did not have the option to work from home. And, unfortunately, this has helped the virus spread even faster. Because some people have been unable to work due to shutdowns and regulations, the COVID-19 pandemic has also caused a storm of legal questions. Many people are confused about what their rights are, what their employer’s rights are, and who is responsible for the damages the pandemic has caused.

CAN MY EMPLOYER REQUIRE THE VACCINE?

COVID in the Workplace

The latest vaccine mandate has myriad of Americans shocked and outraged. Those who are hesitant to get vaccinated are wondering if their employer is legally allowed to mandate the vaccine. And, if employers can legally mandate vaccination, are they liable for any of the side effects associated with the vaccine? Though the laws vary from state to state, employers can legally require that their employees be vaccinated. However, employees cannot sue their employers for any side effects of the mandated vaccination. This is largely due to the fact that employers are legally allowed to make the vaccine a condition of employment. From a legal standpoint, your employer wasn’t actually forcing you to get the vaccine since you are free to work elsewhere if you do not want to get the vaccine. Therefore, your employer cannot be liable for any injury or loss of income the mandated vaccine has caused you.

WHAT ABOUT THAT CO-WORKER I NEVER LIKED?

COVID in the Workplace

Of course that coworker you never really liked gave you COVID-19—after all, who else could it have been? Unfortunately, you likely cannot sue someone personally for giving you COVID-19. This is mostly due to the fact that it’s nearly impossible to prove with any certainty who gave you the virus. You’d also have to prove that the person who gave you COVID-19 was acting negligently when you contracted the virus—which, given what we know about how COVID-19 spreads, may not be the case.

CAN I SUE MY BOSS?

COVID in the Workplace

You may be able to sue your employer if you contract COVID-19 at work. However, due to the way personal injury lawsuits work, this may be an uphill battle. Your employer is responsible for keeping the work environment safe. OSHA has outlined specific guidelines employers are obligated to follow during the pandemic. However, if your employer does not follow these guidelines, and their inaction results in a COVID-19 outbreak, employees may have a claim against their employers for negligence. So, if your employer forced sick employees to come into work, and the sick employees gave you COVID, you may have a claim—especially if other coworkers contracted the virus too. Be aware, though, that claiming that you probably got COVID because your employer was negligent isn’t enough. You have to prove conclusively that you got COVID directly because of your employer’s negligence, and you couldn’t have gotten it any other way.

WHEN YOU’VE GOT COVID

COVID in the Workplace

If you’ve suffered through the consequences of a careless employer who’s infringed OSHA guidelines, Moxie Law Group is here to support you. Moxie Law Group is one of Utah’s leading female-led personal injury firms in Utah. At Moxie Law Group, our mission is to fight for the rights of our clients with integrity, empathy, and tenacity. If you have questions about your rights at work during the COVID-19 pandemic, Moxie Law Group is just a phone call away. Contact us for a free consultation

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