Labor Secretary tells workers affected by pandemic their jobs are 'waiting for them to go back to'

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Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia joined "Special Report with Bret Baier" Monday and discussed the importance of coronavirus liability protections that would shield businesses from what he called "frivolous" legal action as state economies reopen.

"You have businesses and workers looking for clarity and confidence about the practices in the workplace going forward," Scalia told host Bret Baier. "And so a number of businesses are worried that they're doing what they think are all the right things, but might nonetheless face a frivolous lawsuit.

"Our focus at the Labor Department, you know, we have the Occupational Safety and Health Administration [OSHA] at the department. We've been working very closely with the CDC, providing guidance for workplaces or a variety of types of work settings.

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"My own view is that businesses taking those steps should not be subject to lawsuits, but that there is concern on their part that frivolous cases might nonetheless be brought," Scalia added.

Last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., emphasized that any further coronavirus aid legislation would have to include liability protection for businesses and other organizations that resume operations amid the pandemic.

"Our red line is going to be liability protections for those who are brave enough to begin to open up the economy again in the wake of the trial lawyers who are descending already on hospitals and doctors and businesses as of about a week and a half ago," McConnell said.

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Scalia also told Baier he was optimistic the economy could turn around quickly.

"[What] I've been very focused on from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' last monthly report is the 90 percent, nearly 90 percent, of Americans on unemployment who say they believe it's temporary. That would include all the sectors," Scalia said. "I think you've identified the great majority of people when they're surveyed say they think it's temporary unemployment. There's a job there that's waiting for them to go back to. We want to make it safe. That's what we were just talking about. But if we can do it safely and quickly, I think we can turn this around more quickly than other economic downturns we've had."