North Dakota’s Senate Wednesday voted green on a bill granting businesses immunity from COVID-19 liability claims.
House Bill 1175 seeks to protect employers from lawsuits brought by employees who may have contracted the virus at work. While opponents brought concerns over the bill shielding businesses that acted recklessly, supporters say any intentionally malicious acts could still face legal action.
Sen. Jerry Klein says the bill doesn’t protect businesses’ bad behavior but recognizes the difficulties small businesses have endured during the pandemic.
“Over 30 states have already passed COVID-19 business liability protection. This is not a get-out-of-jail-free card. If there were malicious acts or disregards for public safety, this legislation holds those poor decisions and bad intentions accountable. Those cases can still pursue legal action. We hope 1175 will provide a safe harbor and protection for our businesses to continue to operate,” Klein said.
The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 41 to 6, and last month the House passed it 77 to 17.