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What are return to work liability-waivers and how can workers respond?

This question is from a series of questions and answers on Worker Rights and Strategies for Staying Safe During COVID-19 created by National COSH to support workers during the pandemic.

WHAT ARE RETURN TO WORK LIABILITY-WAIVERS AND HOW CAN WORKERS RESPOND? 

  • Many workers are reporting their employer is asking them to sign a waiver that protects the employer from any liability related to COVID-19.
  • This is a way for employers to intimidate workers and try to have them think they have less rights than guaranteed under law.
  • Generally, it is recommended that workers do not sign these documents, but workers cannot sign away legal rights they may be entitled to.
  • As is the case in most job-related actions, it’s best to have a group of workers to protest this demand from the employer.
  • In workplaces where workers have union representation, labor organizations can and should challenge this practice.
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