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Friday, 19 June 2020 17:26

There is Concern with Waivers and Worker’s Comp as PA Businesses Reopen

Written by Justin Backover, WFMZ News

As Pennsylvania businesses reopen, some are turning to waivers in order to protect themselves if a customer or employee contracts the coronavirus.

"We put together waivers that explain the risks that are associated with those experiences," said Ed Easterly, a founding member of Hoffman, Hlavac & Easterly in Allentown. He said waivers could be effective for places like gyms and pools in order to protect them from customers or third parties that might get sick, but not employees.


"On an employee perspective, I don't generally recommend it. I don't know if they're going to be worth the paper they're written on," he said.


That's because if an employee contracts the virus at work, that would generally be a workman's comp issue.


"Employees, generally, cannot waive those types of claims and employers, generally, can't require an employee to waive those types of claims," Easterly said.


However, Adrian Shanker, executive director of Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center, said their worker's comp insurance might not cover coronavirus claims.


"Those policies need to cover us when we really need them and that includes the situation like this one," he said.


It is prohibiting their ability to go back to the office, and could potentially leave businesses in a position to get sued by employees if their claim is denied.


"In my opinion, it's a workman's comp issue if you can get someone to prove they contracted this as a result of their workplace," Easterly said.


The PA Department of Labor and Industry said, in part, if your COVID-19 claim is denied, you may file a petition with the WC Office of Adjudication. For more information, visit the state's website


We thank WFMZ News for reprint permission.

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