9/16/20

Harris Quoted in Columbus Business First Story Titled “Ohio Businesses May Have New Protections, but COVID-19 Lawsuits are Still Possible”

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Attorneys & Professionals

Bob Harris, a partner in the Vorys Columbus office and a member of the labor and employment group, was quoted in a Columbus Business First story titled about a bill signed into law by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine that gives Ohio businesses more protection from lawsuits related to exposure, transmission or contraction of COVID-19.

The story states:

“’This will forestall a lot of litigation that may not have been successful anyway,’ said Bob Harris, a partner with Vorys Sater Seymour & Pease in Columbus. ‘It affords some measure of protection for businesses from lawsuits. That’s the good news, that businesses are freed up from having to worry about this issue.’

But Harris did note the carve-out pertaining to reckless behavior.

‘That doesn’t mean you’re excluded from safety protocols,’ he said. ‘It’s a bad idea to think that you can just relax.’"

The story also stated: 

"Meanwhile, though the legislation may be seen by some as stopping employees from suing a business, Harris said that actually isn’t an issue because those employee illness and injury cases already are handled by the state’s workers’ compensation system. H.B. 606 makes no changes to that.

Harris had another word of caution to employers.

'Don’t take this as a sign to take action against employees,' he said. 'If you have an employee that needs accommodations or one who has registered complaints, you still need to deal with that.'"

To read the entire story on the Columbus Business First website, click here.  (Subscription may be required).