The Ohio House and Senate passed legislation this week to address liability protections for employers as they re-open. This legislation is awaiting Gov. DeWine’s signature. He has indicated support for this concept.
Under House Bill 606, all Ohio employers are granted qualified immunity from lawsuits alleging their action or inaction exposed someone to COVID-19. This immunity exists from the date of the governor’s state of emergency order – March 9, 2020 – and ends on Sept. 30, 2021. This means Ohio businesses will have immunity from these types of lawsuits for up to an 18-month period. In addition to this general immunity coverage, Ohio’s health care providers will also have legal protections against litigation arising from care delivered in response to the coronavirus.
While the Ohio General Assembly initially left this legislation unsettled prior to summer recess, the election of a new speaker in the Ohio House in late July fueled movement on this important issue. Our representatives with the OIA played an active role in helping to get this legislation across the finish line by testifying in both the House and Senate and also signing on to a letter that was sent on Aug. 4 to newly-elected Ohio House Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima) urging that quick action be taken on a coronavirus immunity measure.
OIA would like to thank the leaders in the Ohio House and Senate in addition to all the legislators who voted to support this critical measure. Ohio employers can now focus on rebuilding their business and workforce rather than worrying about expensive lawsuits.