The world hit pause.
Your need for justice didn’t.
So neither did we.
Last month, President Donald Trump said he would sign an executive order to shield meatpacking companies from legal liability from worker claims of not being adequately protected from coronavirus exposure. He also discussed a broader ‘liability shield’ to protect corporations from coronavirus lawsuits. “This type of discussion is alarming to us as advocates for victims’ rights,” says Elizabeth Kaveny, Managing Partner of Kaveny + Kroll Trial Lawyers (www.kavenykroll.com) in Chicago.“During this time of worldwide pandemic, safety for those providing essential services must remain paramount.”
Kaveny’s comments are supported by Ralph Nader and a group of attorneys, law professors and activists. In an open letter to President Trump and members of Congress, Nader’s coalition called for a higher level of protection for our vulnerable workers in the face of preventable harms that can cause injury or death.
Much of this concern involves the pandemic itself and the exposure of workers to the coronavirus due in some instances to improper safety and hygiene practices in the work environment. There have already been numerous outbreaks in companies large and small, where workers have fallen ill and/or exposed their colleagues to infection due to improper reporting and tracing of cases as well as lack of social distancing or protective person equipment(gloves, masks, et al).
“These protections are as important in our factories and facilities to keep workers safe, as they are in the healthcare setting to keep our providers safe,” says Elizabeth Kaveny. “Likewise, as consumers we rely on a ‘standard of care’ which implies that the care and treatment we receive in a professional environment (medicine, law et al.) meet the level of knowledge available. Cases have been reported throughout the country of individuals losing their lives due to lack of proper testing, care or treatment. Everyone must be charged with meeting the applicable ‘standard of care’ in providing the proper safety checks and balances. This certainly should apply to companies on behalf of their employees.”
The Illinois AFL-CIO, a federation of unions representing 900,000 workers in the state, including grocery store workers, bus drivers and manufacturing employees have vowed to fight for workers’ protection as a way to push their employers to provide safe workplaces. Hundreds of workers at grocery stores, meat and food processing plants, public transit facilities and other businesses have died as the virus has spread throughout their workplace.
“We are all in this together,” says Kaveny. “For this to be completely true, we must be able to protect and enforce regulations that keep workers, who in turn are charged with keeping our country running safe.”
Elizabeth A.Kaveny is proud to have been recognized as one of the 10 Best Personal Injury Attorneys in Illinois in 2018 and one of the top 5 Women Attorneys in her field for each of the past 5 years. Elizabeth has been accepted into one of the country’s most prestigious national organizations, the American College of Trial Lawyers, and last year became a barrister with the International Society of Barristers.
Elizabeth is an often-requested teacher and lecturer on trial advocacy, having taught at Northwestern University’s School of Law, Loyola University School of Law, the National Institute of Trial Advocacy and lectured for numerous bar associations and organizations in their continuing legal education programs throughout the country.