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Legal Roundtable Discusses Worker Safety During COVID-19 Pandemic

April 29th's Legal Roundtable discussion featured Bill Freivogel, Catherine Hanaway and Mark Smith.

The coronavirus pandemic has upended American life, and with that comes a host of legal questions — questions now being tackled by St. Louis-area lawyers in both state and federal court. 

Does your employer have an obligation to protect you from COVID-19? A group of workers at a Missouri pork processing plant have sued over that very question. Does the government have the right to make you stay home? An Illinois state representative won a preliminary legal victory over his own governor suggesting that maybe, unless certain procedures are followed, it does not. And should China bear responsibility for COVID-19 spreading across the globe? Missouri’s attorney general thinks so; he hopes to make his case in court.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked about these cases and more with legal experts: Mark Smith, an attorney and associate vice chancellor and dean for career services at Washington University; Bill Freivogel, an attorney and professor for the School of Journalism at Southern Illinois University Carbondale; and Catherine Hanaway, a partner at Husch Blackwell, former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri and former speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives.

Hear the conversation:

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan and Joshua Phelps. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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Alex is the executive producer of "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.
Sarah Fenske served as host of St. Louis on the Air from July 2019 until June 2022. Before that, she spent twenty years in newspapers, working as a reporter, columnist and editor in Cleveland, Houston, Phoenix, Los Angeles and St. Louis.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.