Wisconsin Legislature Passes Bill Shielding Employers from Liability for COVID-19 Claims

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Foley & Lardner LLPOn February 23, 2021, the Wisconsin State Legislature passed a bill with veto-proof majorities in both chambers that would shield employers from civil liability for “any act or failure to act resulting in or relating to a person’s exposure to the novel coronavirus identified as SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 in the course of or through the performance or provision of the entity's functions or services.”  The immunity from civil liability would apply retroactively to claims accruing on or after March 1, 2020, as long as an action has not already been filed.  The bill does not affect actions that have already been filed.  The bill also does not shield employers from liability for “reckless or wanton conduct or intentional misconduct.”

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has previously vetoed legislation that would have created a COVID-related civil liability exemption for employers.  Governor Evers has not yet indicated whether he intends to sign this bill.

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