ISSA Urges Congress to Not Let Misguided Litigation Derail Economy

May 4, 2020 ISSA Urges Congress to Not Let Misguided Litigation Derail Economy

ISSA has joined other associations representing tens of millions of Americans working in essential industries to urge U.S. Congress to ensure that misguided litigation does not derail the nation’s economic recovery.

The letter asserts that companies, like those in the cleaning industry, that have continued to operate to serve the public have confronted new and difficult legal questions. Federal and state rules and guidance on how to operate during this COVID-19 crisis have evolved rapidly and at times have created legitimate confusion over even ordinarily simple tasks like cleaning a work site. Businesses reopening in the coming weeks will soon face these questions as well.

Despite such uncertainty, ISSA members consistently strive to do the right thing by continually implementing new safety protocols to reduce the risk of transmission among employees and the public in response to updated guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and state authorities. Companies doing their best to control the spread of this disease with the limited guidance available deserve legal protection. Congress should not allow good actors to be held liable for events beyond their control.

By providing limited and rational safe harbors for good actors, Congress can help ensure that the critical needs of the American people are met during this time of crisis and enable the continued operation of critical infrastructure. Workplace provisions that recognize the value of modern safety regulation as a far better alternative to one-off lawsuits will give all businesses clearer expectations on how to manage a safe workplace. Temporarily suspending suits that threaten to shut down vital industries—including even cleaning service and healthcare providers—is a sensible step to ensure every American has access to basic life essentials without creating new shortages and exacerbating the crisis.

The letter also notes that “Providing businesses with targeted and limited safe harbors during these difficult times is not the same as shielding companies from all liability. We are not seeking to protect bad actors that operate in reckless or intentional disregard of available guidance on reducing the spread of COVID-19. Therefore, liability protections should be appropriately tailored and limited to the present emergency and a reasonable period of recovery.”

“Our country is facing an unprecedented crisis and America’s essential cleaning industry businesses are stepping up to provide for our critical needs, despite incredible uncertainty and a constantly shifting environment,” said John Nothdurft, ISSA Director of Government Affairs. “ISSA looks forward to working with members of Congress to put in place fair, sensible rules that protect cleaning industry businesses that have worked to keep Americans safe and healthy during our response to this crisis as our country reopens and moves toward recovery and renewal.”

ISSA is working diligently to support the full spectrum of the cleaning industry in the United States and the world during this COVID-19 emergency, including providing a variety of government affairs resources to support our members during this challenging time. For questions regarding ISSA’s advocacy efforts, including the association’s response to COVID-19, please contact Mr. Nothdurft at [email protected].