The Supreme Court of California and now the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit have held that a California employer owes no duty of care under state law to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to the members of an employee’s household.
Read on to learn more from experienced California employment attorney Lisa Sherman.
The case that relieves California employers of this liability
In Kuciemba v. Victory Woodworks, Inc., an employee and his wife sued the employer, alleging that the wife contracted a severe case of COVID-19 because the employer had negligently failed to protect its employees from the virus.
Because this involved questions of state law, the Ninth Circuit asked the Supreme Court of California to address, among other things, whether employers have a duty of care to protect employees’ household members.
The Supreme Court of California noted that, while state law imposes a general duty of care, there are exceptions to that general duty based on “compelling policy exceptions.”
In this case, the Supreme Court found “the significant and unpredictable burden that recognizing a duty of care would impose on California businesses, the court system, and the community at large counsels in favor of an exemption.”
The Ninth Circuit, relying on the state Supreme Court’s ruling, then dismissed the take-home COVID claim.
For once, California employers prevail….
Contact Lisa Sherman today
For more information on COVID related liability, feel free to contact Lisa Sherman at firstname.lastname@example.org or (323) 488-2087.