Sunday, March 22, 2020
Today, under the direction of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton, M.D., MPH, issued a director’s order to require all Ohioans to stay in their homes to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, beginning at 11:59 p.m. EDT on Monday, March 23, 2020, until 11:59 p.m. on April 6, 2020. This order prohibits holding gatherings of any size and closes all nonessential businesses. It does NOT prohibit essential activities like going to the grocery store, receiving medical care, or taking your pet for a walk. Residents can return home from out of state and can leave the state.
Please know that Garvin & Hickey, LLC, has taken all necessary steps to ensure uninterrupted service to our clients, and potential clients, as we collectively navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Regardless of whether we are working from the office or from home, our technology allows us continuity, to provide the same level of excellent service you have come to expect from us.
While the situation may require delays or changes to how we interact with government officials and each other, we expect to continue working with you, and advocating for you, toward proper and timely resolution of the matters and issues that are important to you.
As always, we encourage you to reach out to us via regular means. Our contact information is on this web site. If you happen to leave a voice mail, rest assured we will reach out to you as quickly as possible.
Although our experiences might be somewhat different, we are all in this together. We, at Garvin & Hickey, wish everyone the very best, as we continue to support one another during this challenging time. We encourage you use this opportunity to find new ways to safely serve your family, friends, neighbors and colleagues. And we encourage you to look for the sometimes subtle and unexpected silver linings in your day to day interactions, however limited they might be.
Thank you for your continued trust in Garvin & Hickey, LLC. We appreciate you.
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
COVID -19 LEGISLATION INTRODUCED IN OHIO HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Legislation was introduced yesterday, in the form of HB 573, that will have a significant impact on the compensability of COVID-19, under Ohio workers’ compensation law, if it passes. At this time, it appears that the legislation has a reasonable chance of passing.
Typically, a virus is not compensable in Ohio. In order to qualify as a compensable disease, the employee has to prove the disease was contracted in the course of employment, the disease is peculiar to the employee’s employment, the employment presented a hazard that distinguished it from employment generally, and that the employment created a greater risk of contracting the disease in a greater degree and different manner than the public generally. In its current form, it is difficult to establish an occupational disease claim arising from a virus; the exception would be in the health care industry.
House Bill 573 was introduced as emergency legislation but, at this time, it has not received a vote. It would amend Ohio Revised Code §4123.68, and provide that if COVID-19 is contracted by an employee who was required to work outside the home during the emergency period, there is a rebuttable presumption the disease was contracted in the course of employment. This legislation would shift the burden of proof from the employee to the employer and, would be very difficult for the employer to overcome.
In its present form, the legislation is limited to the current Executive Order. It would cover COVID-19 claims that arise during the emergency period, and for 14 days following the expiration of the current emergency period.
Garvin & Hickey will continue to follow the legislation and keep you informed, when and if it progresses through the Ohio legislature. As always, please feel free to reach out with questions about this or any other matter.