WKRC-TV: Dinsmore's Faith Whittaker Discusses Employer Liability for Reopening Businesses and Schools

July 13, 2020Quotes & Mentions
Local 12 WKRC-TV

Dinsmore Employment Practice Group Chair Faith Whittaker appeared on Local 12 WKRC-TV on Friday for a segment on the potential legal complications of reopening businesses and schools.

"The Americans with Disabilities Act is a federal statute that prohibits discrimination based on a qualified disability," she said. "It provides an affirmative obligation for employers to accommodate individuals with a qualified disability."

And while some lawmakers plan to pass new relief legislation that includes liability insurance for employers and leaves employees with little protection, Whittaker said legal claims by employees stemming from returning to work amid the COVID-19 pandemic are already coming in. 

"There are claims that workers are bringing with respect to leave-of-absence issues, discrimination issues and safety issues," she said. "It's one thing to make the allegation, but it's another thing [for employers] to have actual liability."

With the pandemic still changing by the day in many ways, and with no precedent on which to rely, a great deal of uncertainty remains, not just with respect to liability for employers, but regarding how the public should best proceed from here.

"This is completely new," Whittaker said. "This is new for lawyers, it's new for courts and it's new for employees."

Watch the full video of Whittaker's appearance here.