What Employers Should Know About Vaccine Mandates

by / ⠀Startup Advice / February 18, 2022
pandemic restrictions vaccine

Employers weigh the implications of the Supreme Court’s decision on Thursday, January 13, 2022, which struck down the vaccine mandate law.

The Supreme Court’s vaccine decision will affect carefully-crafted policies to keep employees safe as the pandemic marches on.

Employment attorneys who deal with businesses claim that the blocked regulation removes the “cover” that the federal rule provided to employers. These companies were reluctant to enforce shots and increases complexity due to competing state laws.

Nonetheless, employment attorneys believe that the verdict is unlikely to change current regulations.

David Barron, a labor and employment lawyer at Barron O’Connor, clarifies. He states that employers retain the ability to impose a vaccination requirement. They can impose this on their employees on their initiative as a matter of policy.

That is to say, young CEOs are just as hard hit as their older counterparts.

This has grown more complicated due to state legislative action in undermining employer vaccination obligations, according to Seyfarth Shaw’s lawyer Karla Grossenbacher.

As long as the company allows its workers to acquire the vaccine wherever they choose and makes the necessary adjustments, any employer may mandate the vaccination for their employees.

The Supreme Court ruled that the Biden administration’s vaccine-or-testing policy for big private employers was unconstitutional and unenforceable.

In its original form, the regulation would have obliged employers with more than 100 workers to mandate immunizations or provide Covid testing, according to the Department of Labor. However, the DOL struck down the rule in court.

In recent months, several firms, including Citigroup and Google, have implemented their corporate vaccination requirements. They join others, like United Airlines, that previously had such policies.

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The Supreme Court

The effect of the Supreme Court’s decision on private employers, according to Barron, is very minimal. Moreover, there are still several states, and even cities such as New York, that have their vaccination requirements in place.

The vaccination requirement in New York City is the nation’s first of its type. It applies to private-sector workers and is the first of its kind in the country.

During this time, Tennessee and Montana have made it unlawful for private firms to force their workers to get vaccinations.

In the words of Brett Coburn, a partner at Alston & Bird, “I don’t believe we’re going to see a sea shift.” Let’s look at the topic of vaccine mandates. Coburn believes that employers fall into three categories:

  • those who oppose mandates,
  • employers who support orders and have enacted requirements, and
  • those who support grants but were looking for “the OSHA rule to give them cover.”
    • This would allow employers to defer responsibility for making vaccine decisions to the government when confronted with resistant employees.

The latter will be the most adversely impacted by the Supreme Court’s ruling.

In the Court’s words, the fundamental problem for those firms was worrisome. It would be logistically impossible to do testing once a week for unvaccinated individuals. On the other hand, mandating vaccinations for workers would result in people leaving. Immunization is no longer a sacred cow.

According to a November study of 542 U.S. businesses conducted by Willis Towers Watson, 32 percent of respondents indicated they would only mandate vaccinations if the government ordered them, while 25 percent said they would demand vaccines regardless of the government’s need.

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Some 31% of employers expressed reluctance because they were concerned that their employees might choose to resign rather than be immunized.

The Use of Anonymous Vaccine Questionnaires

Use an anonymous questionnaire asking about previous vaccinations to identify how many workers are in that category.

This procedure is recommended by Seyfarth Shaw Grossenbacher when firms in the latter category move ahead with their vaccination programs.

The vaccination approach for an organization with a 90 percent vaccination rate will be different from a company with a 40 percent vaccination rate strategy.

Is it more important to use a carrot strategy or a stick approach, such as mandating the vaccine?

When it comes to mandating, how stringent of a policy do you want to take, ask the experts?

Those are the considerations that most businesses and their CEOs should take into consideration when choosing where they want or need to be on that spectrum.

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