The pandemic has already created a flurry of individual and class-action lawsuits against post-acute care providers. In fact, according to data collected through a national association for lawyers, it is estimated that approximately 80 COVID-related litigation cases have been filed in Massachusetts alone, and more than 5,000 across the country. These cases are expected to be very costly to defend.
The most common types of cases that have emerged involve health and safety violations, discrimination and leaves of absence from work. In understanding the trends of lawsuits that have already been filed, businesses can better prepare by assessing risk and perhaps mitigate their exposure to liability in the process.
An off-shoot of the safety suits involve whistleblower claims under OSHA, a federal law that addresses standards for workplace health and safety. Employees can blow the whistle on their employer by reporting potential workplace health and safety issues to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a division of the Department of Labor.
Per Amy B. Royal, Esq., a litigation attorney who specializes in labor and employment-law matters at the Royal Law Firm LLP, there are two words to mitigate risk: “Comprehensive Planning.” Proper planning includes knowing what laws apply to your company, assessing them and assessing your overall areas of risk, taking proactive steps, and designating a team to help create, implement, manage and adapt to COVID-related issues. Then, put pen to paper and document your efforts!
Stay the course, stay strong, stay well, stay safe, mask up and stay tuned!