With other organizations, GNDC asks Congress for business liability legislation
As North Dakota business adjusts to the new normal, the focus remains on ensuring the vibrancy of the economy of our state. North Dakota businesses have adapted to new policies, created in response to federal and state guidelines to ensure the safety of all. In the turmoil of adjustment, business leaders have a growing concern that their focus to reopen, despite making changes, puts their organizations vulnerable to civil liability lawsuits if employees receive a positive test for COVID-19. The mantra “unprecedented times” continues to roll as the developed guidelines, inspiring organizational change and policies with procedures, do not provide a clear safe harbor of protection against OSHA citations or legal liability. In addition, the politically charged climate does not discourage feelings of despair or blame.
Lawmakers, at the federal level, need to be made aware of the importance that business liability protection provides to organizations as they reopen and begin to work to reinvigorate the economy. The Greater North Dakota Chamber wants to ensure North Dakota is open for business as well as the rest of the nation. Congress must provide a safe harbor that truly holds poor decisions and ill intentions accountable while protecting companies that are striving to meet public health guidelines as laid out by State and Federal rule-makers.
Not only has GNDC signed on to two letters, one with the US Chamber of Commerce and one with the National Association of Manufacturers, calling Congress to provide temporary and targeted liability relief legislation, but we also joined state trade associations and local chambers together in a letter to North Dakota’s congressional team. Businesses in our state are coming from a unique place in contrast to the nation, as Governor Burgum did not issue a shelter-in-place order. Our businesses, especially those deemed essential – who provide goods and services that our families and communities rely on, continued to operate throughout the pandemic. They are rapidly adjusting to the tumultuous changes complying with shifting guidance to protect their workforce and ability to produce. GNDC, trade associations, and local chambers appreciate their due diligence towards safety and dedication to their mission. It is the role of policymakers now to assist where they can.
“While we are in times of crisis, this is not unique to have liability protections passed at the federal level and in a bipartisan manner. Businesses have been aided in multiple ways during this pandemic but this protection and support will ensure that there is not a significant barrier allowing for rebounding across our nation,” stated Arik Spencer, GNDC President and CEO. “Employers want to be assured that their ongoing efforts to adhere to guidelines as directed by the government will safeguard their companies from needless lawsuits.”