Legal Blog

Coming Soon: New Consolidated Order with Some Civil Liability Immunity

On November 23, 2020, Governor Wolf issued an update notifying Businesses that the administration will be “revising and reissuing its orders to protect businesses, customers, and employees.” According to the update, the order will consolidate previous orders regarding (1) cleaning, (2) social distancing requirements, (3) mandatory telework, and (4) “other safety measures.”

It is unclear whether this new consolidated order will change any of the requirements for the businesses. It would be helpful if these requirements were in one uniform resource. However, it should be noted that the Update includes two bullet points that read:

  • Telework is mandatory unless impossible; safety measures required for businesses including cleaning, social distancing and masking.
  • Online sales and curbside pickup for all shopping are encouraged.

While this does not change anything for PA employers, it does reiterate the mandatory telework requirement. Prudent employers should have a written COVID policy that documents the necessity of employees going into the office, as well as the time and date of the employee entering the office (for contact tracing purposes).

Civil Liability Immunity

The Update also announces that businesses who maintain in-person operations and are open to the public will receive immunity from civil liability only as related to Masking Order. This immunity applies to individuals and entities who are engaged in “essential emergency services activities and disaster services activities when enforcing the order.” It is unclear what is designated as “essential emergency services” and “disaster services activities” however we anticipate that the Order will define these services and activities. NOTE: This immunity only applies to certain businesses and only as it relates to any penalties and fines relating to the PA masking order.

It is also worth noting that while the Commonwealth is providing immunity to certain businesses, the City of Philadelphia’s Recent Order imposes liability on business owners. It follows that regardless of the PA mask immunity, Philadelphia business owners are still on the hook for fines relating to the Philly Mask Order.

ABOUT SUSIE CIRILLI

Susie M. Cirilli is a Labor & Employment attorney that assists clients with issues involving the ADA, FMLA, and Title VII claims. Susie litigates on matters related to hostile work environment, discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, race and disability. Susie has experience representing employers in fact-finding conferences and mediations before the PHRC and the EEOC. Susie’s practice also consists of counseling and advising clients on employment matters. She often advises employers on day to day employment matters and assists her clients on employee issues such as hiring and terminations, which includes drafting and negotiating separation agreements. Susie has experience drafting and revising employment agreements, employee handbooks, non-compete and non-solicitation agreements. Susie is admitted in the Middle District and Eastern District of Pennsylvania. She is also admitted in the Federal Court for the District of New Jersey.

 

 

 

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