It is important for employers in Texas to understand potential issues of liability pertaining to COVID-19 infections and deaths connected to their businesses or places of employment. Indeed, many employers in Texas have questions about whether they can face lawsuits if an employee or a customer contracts COVID-19 at their business and becomes seriously ill or dies. If you are an employer in Texas, our Dallas employment law attorneys can provide you with the information you need about liability for pandemic injuries and deaths under Texas law.
Broad Protections Under the Pandemic Liability Protection Act (PLPA)
On June 14, 2021, Governor Greg Abbott signed into law the Pandemic Liability Protection Act (PLPA) in Texas, which is similar to laws protecting employers and businesses in other states from liability for COVID-related injuries and deaths during the pandemic. The law protects employers from most claims connected to illnesses or deaths arising out of exposure to COVID-19. The law protects employers from liability in cases involving employees, customers, clients, and others on the business premises.
The liability protections under the PLPA make situations in which an employer may be held liable for pandemic injuries or death under Texas law extremely limited. There are, however, some circumstances in which an employer may be liable. Our Dallas employment law attorneys want to be sure that you do understand the narrow circumstances in which an employer can face liability for COVID-19 infections or deaths during the pandemic.
When an Employer May Face Liability for COVID-19 Infections or Deaths
To be clear, the PLPA’s protections for employers are broad, and there are only limited circumstances in which a business can face liability for COVID-19 infections or deaths under Texas law. In order to be held liable, one of the following circumstances must be true according to the PLPA:
- Business knowingly failed to warn of or remediate a condition that the business knew was likely to result in exposure to COVID-19, and the business had control over the condition, knew that the person infected was likely to be exposed, and had a reasonable opportunity to remediate the condition or warn about risk of exposure; or
- Business knowingly failed to implement or comply with government standards, guidance, or protocol designed to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19, and the business had a reasonable opportunity to implement or comply with those standards, refused to implement them or flagrantly disregarded them.
As you can see, in order for an employer to be liable for a COVID-19 infection or death, the party filing a claim would need to be able to prove that your business knew about specific risks of exposure and failed to warn employees or customers, or that your business failed to comply with COVID-19 safety protocols despite having a reasonable opportunity to do so.
Contact Our Employment Law Attorneys in Texas
Do you have questions or concerns about your potential liability for injuries or deaths during the pandemic? One of our experienced Dallas employment lawyers can speak with you today. Contact Simon Paschal PLLC to learn more about how we can assist your business and help with liability protections during the pandemic.