Mask Mandates, COVID, and Employer Liability
It’s been more than 1 1/2 years since COVID-19 started making headlines. And, while pandemic fatigue sets in across the country, that doesn’t mean that the virus is any less dangerous or that it’s over. Indeed, while the number of infections are dropping in Colorado, they’re not at zero; viruses have a nasty way of mutating, as proven by the Beta, Delta, and other circulating variants. Because of this, mask mandates, COVID-19 rules, and employer liability remain fluid and ever-changing realities. Here’s the latest you should know about.
Back in May, the state legislature passed legislation that allows employers to make vaccination a condition of employment. This means that employers can require existing and future employees to provide proof of vaccination. This legislation complies with EEOC guidance and is not a violation of HIPAA.
Another hot topic is masks and mask mandates. Current mask mandates are for unvaccinated people 12 or older and for individuals working in nursing homes, hospitals, or schools. But, that doesn’t mean that employers can’t also request employees and individuals entering their establishments to wear masks. Further, these mandates are fluid and health officials are closely watching the spread of the variants. Further, many cities in the state have implemented their own mask policies. Boulder, Denver, and many other communities still require wearing masks indoors, vaccinated or not.
What about COVID-19 liability? Many people have contracted COVID-19 and, many have suffered what is increasingly referred to as “long-term COVID.” As the pandemic grew, many states scrambled to pass legislation to shield businesses from liability claims. However, it is possible to pursue workers’ compensation claims.
Finally, the pandemic hasn’t changed some things. There remain many instances where employees who are working from home can pursue workers’ compensation claims. As more and more people worked from home this past year, many employees suffered work-related injuries that they may not be aware are work-related. Even in a pandemic, employers have a duty to ensure workers have the tools, equipment, and working environment that allows them to safely do their job and workers can file claims for some types of injuries suffered at home while working.
We encourage you to contact Sloat, Nicholson & Hoover, P.C. at (303) 447-1144 to speak with our team about Colorado’s latest employer liability laws. Our team can give you the information you need to determine the best course of action for your claim.
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