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Michele Siekerka

NJBIA President & CEO Michele Siekerka, Esq.

NJBIA President & CEO Michele Siekerka says the governor’s latest COVID-19 executive order requiring new workplace mandates imposes more costs and bureaucracy on beleaguered businesses trying to recover from the ongoing crisis.

In an interview with FOX 5 News in New York, Siekerka said what business really need is protection from frivolous COVID-19 lawsuits, not additional red tape when they are already struggling to survive the economic downturn from the pandemic.

“They need liability protection when they’ve done everything that the government has told them to do in order to keep the workplace safe,” Siekerka told FOX 5. “And that needs to check the boxes so that you are immune from frivolous lawsuits against you.”

New Jersey’s new workplace standards, which were issued by executive order not a law passed by the Legislature, require businesses to provide masks at no cost to workers, temperature checks at job sites, social distance when possible, and notify employees of known exposure. An overwhelming majority of businesses are already doing these things as per federal guidelines, Siekerka said.

In addition, the executive order requires the Department of Labor & Workforce Development to create an online complaint form and establish protocols for investigating and inspecting alleged violations at businesses. DOL must also establish compliance and training materials for businesses and their employees.