CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY, NOT IMMUNITY
Welcome to the latest edition of “Corporate Accountability, Not Immunity,” a daily tipsheet highlighting key news and important facts on why Congress should not give corporations legal immunity from coronavirus-related harms to workers, consumers, patients and the public. Also refer to our tipsheet on misleading claims from industry groups and conservative lawmakers. Please send tips, feedback and questions to David Rosen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SEN. SHERROD BROWN CALLS OUT EMPLOYERS FOR FAILING TO PROTECT WORKERS: “Workers don’t need PR campaigns. They need fair pay, power in the workplace and protections on the job,” U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) wrote in the Wall Street Journal, calling on corporations to implement strict safety standards to protect workers from COVID-19 and future infectious disease outbreaks. He also demanded that employers take responsibility for their actions by ending the push for immunity from liability and dropping forced arbitration clauses that deny employees the ability to hold employers accountable when they are mistreated. “The pandemic has laid bare how corporations treat employees not as essential to their success but as a cost to be minimized,” he noted.
GROUPS REPRESENTING NURSING HOME RESIDENTS URGE HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS TO OPPOSE IMMUNITY PROPOSALS: A group of 17 organizations representing 1.3 million of the nation’s nursing home residents sent a letter to the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee urging lawmakers to reject proposals that would grant nursing homes immunity from coronavirus-related lawsuits. “Stripping residents of their right to hold nursing homes accountable for substandard care will put more residents at risk and inevitably result in increased resident deaths,” the groups wrote. “We implore you to keep this fundamental right in place and to consider other solutions to promote the safety and welfare of residents.”
HEALTH LAWS SHOULD PROTECT RESTAURANT PATRONS: “Health laws around the nation should be amended to prevent employees with COVID from knowingly or negligently working at restaurants, if they don’t already so provide, and to require disclosures when an employee has tested positive recently,” Jeff Sovern of St. John’s University School of Law wrote following a story that restaurants in Texas do not have to notify patrons if workers have contracted the coronavirus. “But in the meantime, common law fraud rules may protect diners. In most states, contracting parties must disclose latent material defects that are unknown to the buyer.” In other words, “If a restaurant doesn’t disclose to diners that their server has COVID, the consumers would have a pretty good claim against the restaurant, assuming that the restaurant knew about the condition and that it wasn’t obvious.” Accountability to consumers, not immunity from accountability, is how we ensure that restaurants and other business are safe.