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- Experts said they don’t know of any states where a "liability warning acknowledgement form" exists or, if it did, would be recognized in any legal capacity.
- Any job-related injury would have to go through a state’s workers’ compensation system.
A Facebook post claims employees who get vaccinated against COVID-19 because of a workplace mandate can sue their employers if they experience an adverse reaction that prevents them from doing their job.
The post is an image of text featuring a hypothetical discussion between a worker and their boss.
Before getting a COVID-19 vaccination, the worker asks their boss to sign a "Liability Warning Acknowledgement Form."
"It’s a statement that says that if the shot you are forcing on us in order for me to earn a living does any harm to me, in any way, I or my family will sue you and the company," the worker says.
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
Labor law experts told PolitiFact they have never heard of such a form, and couldn’t imagine any supervisor signing one if asked by an employee.
Employees can sue their employers — and have — over COVID-19 vaccine mandates. For example, several United Airline employees filed a class action lawsuit against the company claiming they were being discriminated against after requesting vaccination exemptions.
But experts said they don’t know of any states where a "liability warning acknowledgement form" exists or, if it did, would be recognized in any legal capacity.
"Ordinarily, an employee injured in the scope of employment cannot sue the employer on any tort claim ," said Catherine Fisk, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. Tort refers to a legal filing outlining a person's perceived injury or harm by the party being sued.
"The only remedy is under the state workers’ compensation system," Fisk said. Workers’ compensation laws ensure employees get paid if they’re injured on the job, or that in work-related deaths, their families receive benefits. Before states started passing such laws in 1911, workers’ main recourse was to sue their employers, who usually won in court.
If injured by the vaccine, an employee would have to make a workers’ compensation claim, and their workplace’s insurer would determine if the claim had merit and should be approved.
Although people have made reports to the federal government’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System claiming instances of adverse reactions following a COVID-19 vaccine, researchers have yet to find definitive evidence that the vaccine causes serious injury.
Fisk said it’s possible that states could decide to permit a form like the one described in the Facebook post, but doing so could open a can of worms and create an environment ripe for frivolous lawsuits.
"Otherwise, employees could resist any distasteful aspect of a job by insisting the employer agree to be sued if the employee suffers any injury while performing it," Fisk said.
Both Fisk and Boston University law professor Michael Harper said they have not heard of any cases where an employee has sued their company after reporting an adverse reaction following a COVID-19 vaccination.
A Facebook post claims that a worker can compel their boss to sign a "Liability Warning Acknowledgement Form" that allows them to sue their company if they report an adverse reaction after getting the COVID-19 vaccine that prevents them from working.
Labor experts said they don’t know of any states where a "liability warning acknowledgement form" exists or, if it did, would be recognized in any legal capacity.
We rate the Facebook post False.
Facebook post, Sept. 15, 2021
Archive.Today, Facebook post, Sept. 20, 2021
Email with Catherine Fisk, Sept. 20, 2021
Social Security Administration, Workers' Compensation: A Background for Social Security Professionals, accessed Sept. 23, 2021
Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, Brief History of Worker's Compensation, accessed Sept. 23, 2021
Email with Michael Harper, Sept. 20, 2021
The New York Times, "G.O.P. Governors Fight Mandates as the Party’s Covid Politics Harden," Aug. 31, 2021
Fort Worth Star-Telegram, "United Airlines workers in Fort Worth area sue over vaccine mandate, religious beliefs," Sept. 22, 2021
The Los Angeles Times, "Firefighters sue over city of L.A.'s vaccine mandate," Sept. 17, 2021
The Los Angeles, Times, "LAPD employees sue city over vaccination mandate," Sept. 12, 2021
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