COVID-19 Liability Waivers and Releases for Independent Contractors

Bloomberg Law
July 2020

New York’s Richard Reibstein and Janet Barsky, members of Locke Lord’s Labor and Employment Practice Group and the Firm’s Independent Contractor Misclassification and Compliance team, co-authored an article for Bloomberg Law discussing reasons businesses may wish to require independent contractors to sign COVID-19 waivers and suggested what to include in such waivers. They note there are “compelling reasons to require contractors to sign” COVID-19 waiver and release forms, even though the documents “need to be artfully drafted to withstand strict scrutiny by the courts.”

Reibstein and Barsky also noted that such waivers are better protection for companies when the independent contractor relationship is less likely to be subject to legal challenge. “A company that chooses to use a Covid-19 waiver and release form with independent contractors would be wise to take steps to enhance their compliance with independent contractor (IC) laws. By elevating their level of compliance, Covid-19 waivers and releases are more likely to be enforced and contractors will have far less grounds to assert that they have been misclassified,” they write. 

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