Can Employees File a Virus Lawsuit Against Their Employer?

July 15, 2020


As states across the United States grapple with repercussions from the novel coronavirus, you may ask yourself whether you can sue your employer if you contracted the virus at work. Today, we will take a closer look at coronavirus lawsuits here in Texas and throughout the country. As you are likely aware, COVID-19 cases have spiked in Texas in recent weeks, even with the mask mandate put in place by Governor Greg Abbott on July 3rd.

Unfortunately, many Texas counties are not enforcing [1] the mask order, with one administrator saying it’s “an insult to Texans to be required to do something they should have discretion for.” This attitude is why we are seeing a spike in cases in the Lone Star State and many other states. In Texas, a 30-year-old man died from the coronavirus [2] after attending a ‘COVID party,’ telling the nurse just hours before his death that he had thought the virus was a hoax, and he was wrong. Sadly, we expect more cases like this to make headlines as employees are being forced to return to work, and Texans continue to ignore social distancing guidelines and the mask mandate.

One of the most common questions we’ve fielded since the start of the pandemic is if employees can file a virus lawsuit against their employer. Employees who become sick with COVID-19 at work have rights, but they also face an uphill battle to successfully take on their employer or whoever was responsible for their exposure to the virus. If you have additional questions about filing a virus lawsuit in Dallas, please do not hesitate to contact Shamieh Law today. We are keeping a close eye on coronavirus lawsuits and will help you understand your rights.

Understanding COVID Employment Lawsuits

Coronavirus has caused widespread upheaval, to put it mildly. Millions are out of work, and others are ‘essential employees’ in which they have to go to work day in and day out, putting themselves at risk of contracting COVID-19. While it is necessary to work to provide for your family, put food on the table, and keep up with your mortgage or rent, at what cost? Unfortunately, many employers are not taking the virus as seriously as they should, and they are therefore failing in their responsibility to workers.

But there are numerous legal roadblocks on the road to suing an employer for coronavirus. In some cases, worker’s compensation may protect employees, but most will find it hard to get these benefits for COVID-19. Worker’s comp benefits also prevent employees from suing and seeking compensation, only providing some coverage for losses if you are hurt or become sick at work. COVID-19 has presented new challenges and has employees and employers alike wondering what their options are. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) [3] requires all employers to create a safe work environment that is “free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm” to workers. To meet that amid the pandemic, OSHA encourages all businesses to adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for protecting employees from the coronavirus. These guidelines include:

  • Employees must maintain six feet of distance from one another and any customers
  • All employees must get their temperature taken
  • All surfaces must be disinfected regularly
  • Employees will be provided face masks, hand sanitizer, and barriers

While many employees are taking action and doing what they can to mitigate risks, others have not been so careful.

Can My Employer Be Held Liable?

For an employer to be held liable for any workplace injury, including COVID-19, you must prove that their action or misaction put you at a higher risk of exposure. Some examples of how employers may fail their employees include:

  • Not providing face coverings or other personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Not taking steps to ensure social distancing between coworkers and customers
  • Keeping a facility open after one or more employees tested positive for COVID-19
  • Not properly sanitizing the facility between customers or following a positive coronavirus case

If your employer is guilty of any of the above or failed to take another action that would’ve protected you from the virus, they may be held liable. It is important to remember that each state’s rules and laws may vary, and there continues to be widespread confusion about employee rights with the coronavirus.

Furthermore, if you have not gotten COVID-19 but are concerned your employer isn’t providing safe working conditions and are at risk because of this, you should consider filing a complaint with OSHA and bring up your concerns with your employer. OSHA’s response to COVID-19 complaints has been rather dismal, but you will be able to prove you took the appropriate actions by filing a complaint.

Contact a Dallas Coronavirus Lawyer Today

The bottom line? The more safeguards against the virus, the better. If your employer failed to take the appropriate safety measures and you contracted COVID-19 as a result, contact Shamieh Law today. We will help you understand your rights and determine whether you have a case. As the number of virus lawsuits continues to grow across the United States and America records an unprecedented number of new cases, you may be wondering what your options are. Our experienced lawyers will go over the details of your case and do everything we can to fight for your rights. Many things are unpredictable right now, thanks to the pandemic, and there’s a good chance a person’s legal rights will also change as the pandemic continues. Your best bet is to talk with a workplace accident lawyer about your options, as they will know how the laws have changed and what your best bet is for seeking justice. Give Shamieh Law a call today and schedule a free consultation with a Dallas personal injury lawyer today.