ND Bill To Clear COVID Liability…ND Labor Disagrees.
If you're a cashier, and you catch the COVID from dirty nickles. So it goes.
Yet the North Dakota legislative Industry, Business and Labor Committee say thee...NAY! Actually YEA but it was YEA for do not pass. So, y'know...bills are always kinda screwy. This was March 16, 2021.
REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE HB 1376, as engrossed: Industry, Business and Labor Committee (Sen. Klein, Chairman) recommends DO NOT PASS (6 YEAS, 0 NAYS, 0 ABSENT AND NOT VOTING). Engrossed HB 1376 was placed on the Fourteenth order on the calendar.
But that doesn't kill the bill. But, y'know recommendation right?
So what the heck is House Bill 1376 (HB 1376)? It's short so here it is...
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF NORTH DAKOTA: SECTION 1. A new section to chapter 32-03 of the North Dakota Century Code is created and enacted as follows: Employer immunity for COVID - 19 -
Exceptions. 1. As used in this section: a. "COVID - 19" means:
(1) Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 identified as SARS - CoV - 2; and
(2) Any disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 identified as SARS - CoV - 2.
b. "Employee" means an individual who performs a service for wages or other remuneration under a contract of hire, written or oral, express or implied. The term includes an independent contractor.
c. "Employer" means the person that employs the employee. 2. Subject to subsection 3, an employer is immune from civil liability for damage, loss, or injury that results from an employee contracting, being exposed to, or potentially being exposed to COVID - 19 during the course of employment. 3. Immunity under subsection 2 does not apply to damage, loss, or injury caused by an an employer's willful misconduct or infliction of harm
SECTION 2. APPLICATION. This Act applies to all civil actions filed after July 31, 2021. This Act applies to claims by an employee or former employee who knew or reasonably should have known about the contraction, exposure, or potential exposure to COVID-19 before the effective date of this Act.
For what I didn't get right...here's the link.
March 15th Jerry Klein (R. Fessenden) Chairman of the Industry, Business, and Labor Committee had this to say to Prairie Public Broadcasting...
"What we're doing here is saying, okay, if this is COVID-related, you're going to have to cut it some slack,' said Sen. Jerry Klein (R-Fessenden), chairman of the Senate Industry, Business and Labor Committee.
That committee heard the bill last week.
"This is not a 'get-out-of-jail-free' card," Klein said. "If somebody was actually injured in a business through no fault of their own, and no COVID relationship, that still sticks," Klein said. "Those people will have some recourse.
The Greater North Dakota Chamber was starting the conversation in June of 2020. According to KXNET...
The Greater North Dakota Chamber is now asking for congress to approve liability protections for businesses not only in our state but across the country.
This move will protect businesses from being responsible in the case of a coronavirus outbreak as long as the business keeps a safe environment.
“So what we’re asking for employers, if they’re doing those things, they’re following those guidelines issued by the governor or issued by the CDC. If they’re providing those services or those safe operating conditions that they’re protected from lawsuits from maybe an employee who would happen to get sick on the job,” shared Matt Gardner, GNDC’s Director of Government Affairs.
So we've heard from political labor folks saying DO NOT PASS. Except Chairman Jerry Klein seemingly saying please do pass.(did I read that wrong?) We hear from the Greater North Dakota Chamber saying please do pass. What say you actual laborers?
Landis Larson, president of the North Dakota AFL-CIO, said while many companies have gone above and beyond to protect their staff over the past year, he noted not all employers have placed safety at the forefront.
"Shielding these bad actors from litigation would only encourage them to ignore the scant guidelines on infectious diseases in the workplace," Larson contended.
I'm exhausted and probably lost track of who said what.
Thanks for reading this far
So what say you...Bismarck/Mandan? Cut the COVID litigation cord or take it case by case?