As Michigan continues to reopen, most business owners are searching for ways to limit liability should COVID-19 spread throughout the workplace. Employer liability waivers have historically been implemented to release business owners from liabilities related to workplace hazards, so it would seem this may be a tool to utilize now that we are in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. So, should business owners implement COVID-19 liability waivers?
A liability waiver (hold harmless agreement) is a legal document a person signs to acknowledge the risks involved with participation in any activity. Employers use liability waivers to release the business from liability that occurred because of an accident, injury, or other damage the employee suffered while engaged in an employer-sponsored activity or while using employer-provided equipment or facilities.
For many people, it seems logical that requiring employees to sign a COVID-19 liability waiver is the ideal way to protect the business against litigation. However, most employment law and business attorneys feel employer liability waivers are best suited for other workplace hazards and not COVID-19.
Instead of implementing COVID-19 liability waivers it may be better policy to limit your business’s liability by following State of Michigan and CDC guidelines and implementing a COVID-19 Work Safety and Readiness Plan to put policies and procedures in place to provide a safe workplace as best you can.