COVID-19 Workplace Litigation on the Rise

Morgan O'Rourke


August 3, 2020

Employee lawsuits related to COVID-19 are increasing, according to data collected by law firm Fisher Phillips. Of the 283 COVID-19 workplace suits filed in federal and state courts through June 30, 122 or 43% were filed in June, marking a 30% increase from the 94 cases filed in May and 103% from the 60 in April. The most frequent causes for these suits were employment discrimination, work-from-home/leave issues, retaliation, unsafe working conditions/lack of PPE, and wage and hour claims. Class action lawsuits are also rising, with 41 filed against employers since the pandemic began. These lawsuits most commonly involved unsafe working conditions and wage and hour concerns. California, Florida, New Jersey, New York and Texas have so far seen the most COVID-19 workplace lawsuits filed. “This data is a stark reminder for employers that typical best practices cannot be ignored simply because we are operating in unprecedented times,” the firm said in a statement. “You need to continue to train your managers so they have a solid understanding of their responsibilities and employee rights.”

Morgan O’Rourke is editor in chief of Risk Management and director of publications for the Risk & Insurance Management Society, Inc. (RIMS)