Friday, December 18, 2020
Now in its 33rd week, the Barnes & Thornburg Wage & Hour Apply Group’s COVID-19 associated office litigation tracker has summarized 678 complaints filed throughout the USA in 12 classes. This week’s highlight is on a case representing two developments we’ve seen come up amongst COVID-19 associated office complaints: whistleblowers and office security. This case additionally highlights some distinctive theories of aid new to the tracker: assault and lack of consortium.
In Paye v. Elwyn of Pennsylvania, the plaintiff alleges her employer, a human companies group that gives care to people with disabilities, failed to offer its staff with adequate PPE, failed to supply COVID-19 exams for its staff, and did not notify the plaintiff that one among her co-workers had examined constructive for COVID-19. The plaintiff alleges that she raised these complaints to the operations supervisor and her union consultant. The plaintiff went on to allege that she was terminated in retaliation for her complaints, a violation of Pennsylvania’s whistleblower statute and public coverage.
Along with her wrongful termination claims, the plaintiff raised a declare for intentional infliction of emotional misery. She alleges that the defendant’s failure to offer PPE, failure to check for COVID-19, and failure to inform her of constructive exams within the office have been intentional and deliberate, and precipitated her to endure “excessive emotional misery.”
Moreover, the grievance asserts claims for assault and lack of consortium, two theories not generally related to claims predicated on COVID-19. In assist of her assault declare, the plaintiff argues that the defendant’s deliberate failure to offer PPE and refusal to provide her a COVID-19 take a look at put her in concern of coming into contact with COVID-19. The plaintiff’s husband and co-plaintiff asserts a declare for lack of companionship and consortium, in mild of his spouse’s have to quarantine after being uncovered at work to a person who had examined constructive for COVID-19. Mr. Paye asserts that throughout the time Ms. Paye was in isolation, he was “disadvantaged of his spouse’s firm, affection, and sexual intimacy.”
This case illustrates a number of the methods during which plaintiffs get artistic in asserting a number of theories of aid for a similar fundamental set of allegations. Whereas the COVID-19 pandemic persists, employers will possible be confronted with conditions involving staff contracting the virus at work and associated lawsuits during which the staff search doubtlessly distinctive and ranging theories of aid. Time will inform if such theories can be profitable.
Nonetheless, employers would do effectively to evaluation their office security measures to make sure they’re they’re following all relevant public well being orders and taking applicable steps to attenuate the unfold of COVID-19 within the office. When doubtful, search steering out of your labor and employment lawyer. We’ll proceed to trace these developments as they unfold, and can proceed to replace the tracker every week. As all the time, keep tuned.