Should businesses be held responsible if employees and customers are infected with COVID-19? | The Tylt

Should businesses be held responsible if employees and customers are infected with COVID-19?

One of the central goals Republicans have to address the coronavirus crisis in the United States is to protect employers from lawsuits if workers or customers get sick or die of COVID-19. Republicans frame this legal immunity as a cornerstone for reopening the United States' economy—businesses will suffer if they are faced with a deluge of lawsuits. Providing immunity would help reduce the risk for businesses and give them the certainty that they can reopen. However Democrats and worker groups say giving businesses liability immunity from COVID-19 lawsuits would encourage reckless behavior—essential workers are getting sick at extremely high rates. Employers have shown they won't protect workers. They should not be immune from the consequences. 

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Should businesses be held responsible if employees and customers are infected with COVID-19?
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#HoldBizResponsible
#GiveBusinessImmunity
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Should businesses be held responsible if employees and customers are infected with COVID-19?
#HoldBizResponsible
#GiveBusinessImmunity
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Republicans have declared that giving businesses immunity to COVID-19 lawsuits is a red line for any additional aid packages. Their belief is that the economy going forward cannot function without widespread liability protections–otherwise businesses, especially small businesses, will be swamped by frivolous lawsuits. 

Here's how conservatives see the rationale for their position, according to the New York Times. 

Conservative groups including the Koch network and FreedomWorks have warned of a wave of “predatory, self-serving lawsuits” from trial lawyers who have “plotted to line their pockets with Covid-19 related lawsuits.” Last month, dozens of industry trade associations, including those representing grocers, retailers and restaurateurs, told Congress that without protections, the threat of litigation could put many small businesses permanently out of business.
“You’ve got to give the businesses some confidence here that if something happens, and it may not be their fault — the disease is an infectious disease — if something happens, you can’t take them out of business,” the White House economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, said in April on CNBC. “You can’t throw big lawsuits at them.”
#GiveBusinessImmunity
#HoldBizResponsible

Democrats and other critics of the Republican position argue that giving businesses immunity would lead to companies taking advantage of workers and customers. This isn't hypothetical, it has already happened. According to a New York Times investigation, while American meatpackers were pushing for liability protection as they stayed open to prevent a severe meat shortage, meatpackers were actually sending record amounts of meat to China. 

Instead of protecting businesses, the government should protect workers. Front-line workers continue to get sick. Many are working for low pay and without proper equipment. This crisis has shown how much we rely on essential workers—we should start treating them like they are essential. 

#HoldBizResponsible
#HoldBizResponsible
FINAL RESULTS
Politics
Should businesses be held responsible if employees and customers are infected with COVID-19?
A festive crown for the winner
#HoldBizResponsible
#GiveBusinessImmunity