Assemblyman CHRISTOPHER P. DEPHILLIPS
District 40 (Bergen, Essex, Morris and Passaic)
Prohibits payment of workers’ compensation benefits for injury related to contraction of virus except in circumstance when employer commits gross negligence.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act concerning workers’ compensation benefits for injuries related to contraction of a virus and amending R.S.34:15-1 and R.S.34:15-5.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. R.S.34:15-1 is amended to read as follows:
R.S.34:15-1. a. When personal injury is caused to an employee by accident arising out of and in the course of his employment, of which the actual or lawfully imputed negligence of the employer is the natural and proximate cause, he shall receive compensation therefor from his employer, provided the employee was himself not willfully negligent at the time of receiving such injury, and the question of whether the employee was willfully negligent shall be one of fact to be submitted to the jury, subject to the usual superintending powers of a court to set aside a verdict rendered contrary to the evidence.
b. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection a. of this section, when an employee who is injured by contracting a virus arising out of and in the course of employment, the employee shall be prohibited from receiving compensation therefor from the employer unless the contraction of the virus was the result of gross negligence of the employer.
2. R.S.34:15-5 is amended to read as follows.
R.S.34:15-5. In all actions at law brought pursuant to this article, the burden of proof to establish willful negligence of the injured employee shall be upon the defendant; except that, when an employee brings an action for an injury sustained related to the employee contracting a virus in the course of employment, the burden of proof to establish gross negligence of the employer as required by subsection b. of R.S. 34:15-1 shall be upon the plaintiff.
3. This act shall take effect immediately and shall apply to all claims filed on or after the date of enactment.
This bill provides that an employee who suffers an injury as a result of contracting a virus in the course of employment is prohibited from receiving workers’ compensation benefits for the injury unless the contraction of the virus was the result of gross negligence of the employer. The employee will have the burden to demonstrate that the employee contracted the virus as a result of the employer’s gross negligence.