Overview of Wisconsin COVID-19 Liability Immunity Law
On February 25, 2021, Governor Tony Evers signed Wisconsin Act 4 into law. This law provides that entities are immune from civil liability for death or injury to any individual or damages caused by an act or omission resulting in or relating to exposure to SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 in the course of or through the performance or provision of the entity’s function or services.
The immunity provided does not apply if the act or omission involves reckless or wanton conduct or intentional misconduct. Also, the immunity provided is in addition to any other immunity granted by law and does not limit any other immunity provided by law.
Entity: Any partnership, corporation, association, governmental entity, tribal government, tribal entity, or other legal entity, including a school, institution of higher education, or nonprofit organization. “Entity” includes an employer or business owner, employee, agent, or independent contractor of the entity, regardless of whether the person is paid or an unpaid volunteer. “Entity” includes an employer covered under ch. 108.
Application: Immunity applies retroactively to all claims, except that it does not apply to actions filed before the effective date.
Effective date: Via statute, this bill is effective once published by the State and the immunity provision included is retroactive to March 1, 2020.
Effective immediately, employers located in the State of Wisconsin have immunity from civil liability claims resulting from COVID-19. However that immunity does not apply if the employer is deemed to have engaged in reckless, wanton or intentional misconduct. With that in mind, employers would be well served by continuing to monitor and implement the latest guidance from federal, state and local health departments regarding the pandemic.