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Could the Workers’ Comp “Grand Bargain” Fall Apart?

Two men making dubious nogotiation behind a curtain concept

September 22, 2021

A trial court ruling in California, taken to its logical conclusion, would mean that a person who contracts Covid from a company employee would be able to sue the employer, notwithstanding the fact the employee’s illness itself would fall under workers’ compensation insurance. That’s according to attorneys from law firm Fisher Phillips, who say this decision, if it stands, would threaten “the grand bargain” that makes it relatively easy for employees to collect for workplace injuries under a strict liability standard, in exchange for protection from open-ended liability in the civil litigation system. “[E]mployers outside of California might also want to take note,” they write, “as other judges may look to what happens here and apply the same reasoning to cases in their jurisdictions as well.” A coalition of state and national employer groups has filed an amicus brief in support of the appeal.

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