Proposal Would Immunize a Wide Range of Employer Wrongdoing

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 drosen@citizen.org.

DISABILITY ADVOCATES OPPOSE LIABILITY SHIELD: The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Rights, Health, and Long-Term Services and Supports Task Forces wrote to congressional leadership on Friday to oppose immunizing businesses from coronavirus-related lawsuits. The letter states that “we oppose the SAFE TO WORK Act because it undermines important protections for people with disabilities by limiting liability for a wide variety of unlawful conduct, placing the lives and safety of people with disabilities and others at needless risk. We are frankly shocked that a COVID-19 relief bill would seek to make such dramatic changes, including to civil rights laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as to other health and safety protections.”

IMMUNITY PROPOSAL GIVES EMPLOYERS A FREE PASS ON A WIDE RANGE OF WRONGDOING: U.S. Senate Republicans’ sweeping proposal to immunize businesses from liability includes provisions shielding employers from a range of workplace laws – including laws addressing discrimination, fair wages and occupational health and safety. How would exempting employers from complying with the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act help to end the pandemic? What does any of this have to do with restoring the economy? Nothing at all.

ONE-THIRD OF SENATE REPUBLICANS WON’T VOTE FOR ANY DEAL: According to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), at least 15 to 20 Republicans in the U.S. Senate won’t vote for any coronavirus response package no matter what it includes. If that estimate is correct, no deal can pass without support from at least a majority of Senate Democrats. Because McConnell’s unpopular corporate immunity proposal lacks Democratic support in either chamber of Congress, the proposal should be taken off the table in negotiations between the Democratic leadership and the White House to expedite passage of a bill to provide much-needed relief to struggling people, states and communities.

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