Employers have encountered COVID-19-related unique and challenging workplace law circumstances in multiemployer construction sites. For example, a hospital under construction may have imposed COVID-19 testing requirements on its general contractor, which, in turn, imposed testing requirements on the numerous subcontractors on the job site. Such situations require reviewing contractual and legal obligations.
As in most multiemployer construction sites, much of the liability and much of the responsibility is pushed down to the various subcontractors. Often, the contractual agreements between the general contractor and its various subcontractors dictate the parties’ legal obligations. However, in the new pandemic world, those contracts are likely silent on what general contractors and the various subcontractors can do versus what they must do, when it comes to COVID-19.
In these instances, the construction site owner may be a hospital seeking to expand into a wing or create a new building adjacent to existing ones. The hospital is concerned about construction workers possibly exposing its healthcare workers and patients to COVID-19. Therefore, the construction site owner will impose testing responsibilities on the general contractor.