Las Vegas restaurant employees say they fired after refusing to sign COVID-19 'liability waiver'

Workers at a Las Vegas restaurant said they were fired after refusing to sign a liability waiver. 

The now-former employees of the Las Vegas chain, "Nacho Daddy," said the eatery is requiring all of its employees to sign the waiver to protect the restaurant from any lawsuits, in case an employee contracts the coronavirus after returning to work.

The two employees felt they were being asked to give up their rights with the contract. They told KVVU that they refused to sign it, resulting in their termination.

"I can't sign this," said one of the employees who asked to remain anonymous. "I can't live with myself if I sign this contract."

One of the former employees said she has family members who have autoimmune diseases.

"If I'm going back to work," she said, "just because I'm trying to avoid bankruptcy and risk my health and family's health, was it worth it?"

According to KVVU, the first paragraph of the waiver reads:

"I understand by signing this document, I am any/all waiving legal rights I may have against Nacho Daddy in reference to returning to work amidst the coronavirus pandemic. I understand that there is still the possibility of contracting COVID-19 upon returning to work. I will follow any and all policies directed by the Nacho Daddy Corporation that are put in place for my safety and to minimize contraction of the disease." 

Despite push back from some employees, one of the chain's founders said the waiver was never meant to take away employees' rights, but to ensure they understand the risks and procedures in coming back to work during a pandemic.

"Obviously, COVID hasn't disappeared. We need to make sure that they're, you know, fully aware of the situation and that they're coming back to work willingly," said Paul Hymas, president and co-founder of Nacho Daddy. 

Hymas said the employees who returned to work took a coronavirus training class on social distancing with customers and new cleaning guidelines. After the class, he said, they were given the liability form to acknowledge they understood the new procedures.

"I didn't anticipate that much push back on it. I don't know why they would want the ability to sue us, to be quite honest. They have to acknowledge the fact that they need to wear masks. They need to provide a safe, working environment," he said.

One of the employees told KVVU they felt like it was an ultimatum. 

"They're trying to make us sign a contract under duress and coercing us, saying, 'You can't work unless you sign a contract. You won't have a job,'" the employee said.

Hymas said Nacho Daddy is working on a revised waiver and will rehire workers who decide to sign the new form on a case-by-case basis.