LANSING, Michigan. October 22, 2020 (Biz Republic) — Governor Whitmer today signed legislation championed by the Michigan Chamber to specify that businesses who are following COVID-19 safety protocols would be protected from COVID-19 related lawsuits. “Across our state, businesses, nonprofits, childcare, academic facilities and the medical community have invested resources, time and energy in complying with public health requirements and operating in a safe manner,” said Wendy Block, Vice President of Business Advocacy and Member Engagement for the Michigan Chamber.
“This legislation is good news for businesses who have made public safety a priority and allows them to proceed with confidence that they will not be the target of an unwarranted lawsuit brought by personal injury lawyers seeking to capitalize on the pandemic.” “This legislation is a great example of what happens when all sides come together to resolve a controversial issue,” said Block.
“While there were many lawmakers and staff involved in these legislative negotiations, special thanks to Representatives Tom Albert, Tommy Brann and Graham Filler for sponsoring this important legislation, Speaker Lee Chatfield and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey for making it a priority, and Senator Adam Hollier, Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich and the Governor’s staff for their help in bringing all sides together to get the bills across the finish line.”
The Michigan Senate and House approved the five bills last week after days of intense bipartisan negotiations. The main bill, House Bill 6030, would grant employers, individuals, nonprofits, child care and academic facilities and the medical community immunity from personal injury lawsuits and other tort actions if the person or entity is in compliance with federal, state, and local statutes, rules, regulations, executive orders and agency orders related to COVID-19 in effect at the time of the conduct or risk that allegedly caused harm.
This legislation is good news for entities that are committed to following safety protocols and allows them to proceed with confidence that they will not be the target of an unwarranted lawsuit brought by personal injury lawyers seeking to capitalize on the pandemic. Two other bills in the package, House Bills 6031 and 6101, would make similar changes to the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act.
The final bill in the package, House Bill 6032, would codify the Governor’s now nullified Executive Order prohibiting discharge, discipline or retaliation against employees who stay home because they test positive, display the principal symptoms or have had close contact with an individual who tests positive or displays the principal symptoms.
The Michigan Chamber is a statewide business organization representing approximately 5,000 employers, trade associations and local chambers of commerce. The Chamber represents businesses of every size and type in all 83 counties of the state. It was established in 1959 to be an advocate for Michigan job providers in the legislative, political and legal process.