By, Harold Kim
Business owners have taken the biggest economic punch of their lives these last few weeks. Now, as they are thinking about how to reopen, a major concern is lawsuits.
Some in Congress are thinking about this too and are making commonsense liability protections a key component of the next round of help.
This is not a partisan issue. A new survey from the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) shows that strong majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and independents agree that employers must have protections from COVID-related lawsuits as they work to reopen safely and sustainably.
As ILR laid out in its recently released report, Congress can pass timely, targeted and temporary liability protections to ensure lawsuits don’t hamper the good faith efforts to return to work and life. The report is part of a new series created to highlight how litigation, if left unchecked, will challenge our economic recovery after this pandemic.
The Chamber is not seeking blanket immunity. Bad actors and companies that engage in gross negligence should be held accountable. We are simply asking Congress for temporary ‘safe harbor’ protections to give employers some degree of assurance that if they follow public health guidelines, they won’t face further financial hardships through unwarranted lawsuits.
Business owners were given a much-needed financial lifeline from lawmakers because they understood no business or family should go bankrupt because of this unprecedented crisis. Now, as ILR’s survey shows, Americans believe lawmakers must pass targeted and temporary measures so businesses don’t go bankrupt from abusive COVID-related litigation.