WASHINGTON, D.C. – American businesses are working hard to take measures to protect their employees and customers amid the COVID-19 crisis, however the risk of opportunistic lawsuits poses a significant barrier in their ability to bounce back from the economic crisis. As businesses start to reopen, employers simply want to know that if they take reasonable steps to follow public health guidelines, they will be protected against needless lawsuits.
There is broad public support as well as strong support across the political spectrum for liability protections, and a consensus is emerging on this issue. Today the Chamber joined over 200 diverse trade associations and other groups calling for Congress to provide temporary and targeted liability relief legislation. This comes after the Chamber was also part of a broad group of over 50 state and local chambers who sent a letter last week on this important issue.
“During times of past crises, Congress has passed liability protections on a bipartisan basis, and must do so again,” said Harold Kim, President, U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform. “The U.S. Chamber and the Institute for Legal Reform are leading this coalition to urge lawmakers to protect businesses against the acute economic threat of lawsuits.”
“Temporary, targeted and timely liability relief is critical as employers work to keep their employees and customers safe and reopen their doors as America moves towards recovering from this crisis,” said Neil Bradley, Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “Businesses who follow public health guidelines shouldn’t have to worry about lawsuits. Without temporary liability protections many companies face a daunting choice of either staying closed and risking bankruptcy or reopening and risking a business-crippling lawsuit.”
Bradley continued, “We must be focused on a bipartisan strategy to get the American economy back on track safely and sustainably, and unwarranted lawsuits against businesses will hinder economic recovery. As Congress and the White House consider their next relief package, the Chamber believes it should include temporary safe harbor protections from lawsuits during the COVID-19 crisis.”