Union’s Case Rejected In COVID Liability Lawsuit
The U.S. Security Officer’s Union filed a lawsuit against the federal government recently arguing that their employer failed to adequately protect court workers from COVID-19. The lawsuit, however, was dismissed on the grounds that the union did not have standing to file the lawsuit.
Standing is a legal concept that means the right to sue. A common example that is becoming more important in recent days is abortion rights. Under the law, a fetus does not have standing to sue. In this case, neither did the union, according to the New York court in which the case was heard.
The union alleged that the U.S. federal courts did not do enough to protect their employees from COVID. Among the allegations leveled, the union claimed that the courthouse failed to properly clean surfaces, failed to provide proper PPE, failed to train employees in the proper use of PPE, and that several courthouse employees contracted COVID as a result of substandard infection protocols.
Before your arguments can even be heard, the court must decide whether or not it is the proper venue for a lawsuit, and also, whether or not you have the standing to file a lawsuit in that court. In this case, the lawsuit was dismissed before the court even considered the merits of the case because the court decided that the union did not have standing to sue.
Why can’t the union sue?
Interestingly, its function as a union precludes its ability to sue for damages related to torts. While a union can file a lawsuit against an employer for failing to uphold the terms of a contract, the union must prove that the union itself was harmed, not the individual workers. In this case, individual workers with individual claims may be able to file lawsuits, but the union itself cannot bring a claim on their employees’ behalf unless the union itself can show damages. In this case, the union couldn’t, so the case was kicked.
Can the employees file a lawsuit?
The union may not be able to sue on behalf of its employees, but that wouldn’t stop the employees themselves from banding together and filing a class-action lawsuit against the U.S. government. In this case, that will be the route that they have to take. While unions represent the interests of their members, they do not function as interlocutors for individual members. This simply means that the union members will have to file a different class-action lawsuit to force the government to impose changes that place it in league with CDC recommendations.
This, in fact, will be their sole means to force the federal government to implement its own safety protocols.
Talk to a Miami Workplace Injury Attorney
If you’ve been injured on the job, then you are entitled to either workers’ compensation or other means of remedy. Call the Miami workers’ compensation lawyers at Payer Law today.