An employment section of the Lima High Court court declared COVID-19 as an occupational disease applicable to all types of workers, not just healthcare professionals.

The case relates to a worker’s estate which filed a lawsuit against their former employer, claiming that the worker contracted COVID-19 during their employment and died from it. The court ruled in favor of the worker’s estate and based its decision on recommendations and conventions from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The court’s rationale is that COVID-19 can be considered an occupational disease because it can be transmitted orally among individuals, including in the workplace. The court cited international instruments such as the ILO conventions and recommendations that support classifying COVID-19 as an occupational disease. The court emphasized that immediate exposure to the disease at the workplace or during work-related activities is sufficient to qualify it as an occupational disease.

The court further held that there is no legal or conventional basis to restrict the classification of COVID-19 as an occupational disease to healthcare workers, as high rates of contagion through oral transmission make it clear that the disease can be associated with workplace exposure. The court also deemed it discriminatory and unconstitutional that Law No. 31025 considered COVID-19 as an occupational disease for healthcare workers only, as the risk of contagion extends to all types of workers, violating the principle of equality and non-discrimination established in the Peruvian Constitution. Consequently, the court orders the defendant company to pay 200,000 soles in compensation for moral and personal damages to the worker’s estate.

Reference: Expediente N° 10944-2022-0-1801-JR-LA-10, Décimo Juzgado Especializado Laboral Permanente de la Nueva Ley Procesal del Trabajo (NLPT) de la Corte Superior de Justicia Lima.

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