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ISSA Calls on Congress to Support Liability Relief

July 31, 2020 ISSA Calls on Congress to Support Liability Relief

ISSA joined more than 375 organizations to urge U.S. Congress to support “timely, targeted, and temporary” liability relief provisions contained in the SAFE TO WORK Act (S. 4317).

In a letter to members of Congress, the signatories stated that “these crucial protections would safeguard health care workers, providers, and facilities, as well as businesses, nonprofit organizations, and educational institutions against unfair lawsuits so they can continue to contribute to a safe and effective economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. This legislation is critically needed and should be enacted as soon as possible.” The signatories urged congressional members to support the inclusion of these provisions in a “Phase Four” COVID-19 relief package.

The cleaning industry continues to work tirelessly to protect Americans from COVID-19 through the critical provision of cleaning and disinfecting products and services. However, as these workers and businesses keep our communities safe and healthy, our members and constituencies remain concerned that, despite doing their best to follow applicable government guidelines, they will be forced to defend against an onslaught of frivolous lawsuits. Unfortunately, this concern has already begun to materialize.

COVID-19-related lawsuits and their consequent exorbitant legal costs could deter entities from reopening and ultimately could cripple cleaning businesses both large and small. Furthermore, absent the proposed liability protections, many frontline workers and facilities, as well as manufacturers of critical personal protective equipment (PPE), would be punished for their efforts in the form of costly lawsuits.

The temporary and targeted liability relief provisions contained in S. 4317 are balanced and would ensure that unfair lawsuits against those who work to comply with applicable governmental guidelines do not impede Americans’ physical and economic recoveries. Importantly, the protections contained in this legislation are limited in duration and scope. They are not permanent changes to federal law. Furthermore, they allow states to provide additional protections if they so choose and, critically, preserve reasonable recourse for those harmed by truly bad actors.

“In the wake of prior crises, Congress came together to pass needed liability protections with strong bipartisan support because lawmakers understood the threat of lawsuits at moments of maximum economic vulnerability,” said ISSA Director of Government Affairs John Nothdurft. “That threat is present again now, perhaps more than ever. Now is the time for Congress to take strong action and provide a national baseline of protection during this national pandemic to stop a growing wave of lawsuits from inhibiting our return to a robust economy and healthy citizenry.”

ISSA is working diligently to support the full spectrum of the cleaning industry in the U.S. and worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic, including providing a variety of government affairs resources to support its members during this challenging time. Please contact your elected officials and support the ISSA Advocacy Fund in any amount to help ISSA continue to advocate for liability relief as part of the next federal stimulus package. For questions regarding ISSA advocacy, including the association’s response to COVID-19 and the ISSA Advocacy Fund, please contact johnn@issa.com.