Can Employers Fire Any Employees That Choose Not To Take The COVID Vaccine?
A COVID vaccine is not even available yet, but the mainstream media is already full of stories about whether or not it is legal for employers to fire employees that refuse to take it. To me, this is not even a debate that we should be having. It would be fundamentally anti-American and morally reprehensible for any employer to fire someone for choosing not to get vaccinated. Unfortunately, the mainstream media does not see things that way, and they are interviewing lots of legal experts that are assuring employers that it is perfectly legal to fire people that don’t want to get vaccinated. For example, the following comes from a CNBC article…
“In general, yes, employers are able to mandate the vaccine when it becomes available with, of course, a bunch of caveats,” says employment lawyer Lindsay Ryan, listing possible exemptions for those with specific medical conditions and those with sincerely held religious convictions.
If religious convictions really did protect employees, that would be great.
From my perspective, any employee that refuses to get vaccinated based on a sincerely held religious conviction should definitely be shielded from being fired under federal law.
Unfortunately, the CNBC article goes on to explain why federal law is probably not going to protect any person of faith from mandatory vaccination requirements…
Ryan emphasizes that state laws regulating what constitutes reasonable accommodations for religious groups vary significantly, but that “under federal law, employers don’t have to grant a religious accommodation if doing so would result in more than a de minimis cost to the operation of the business.”
“De minimis” is Latin for “of minimum importance” and is used in law to refer to a total so small that it is not even recognized. Given how significantly the pandemic has impacted businesses, Ryan says “this is a pretty low standard.” Meaning, many employers will likely have legal ground to require vaccination.
In other words, under federal law there is hardly any protection at all for workers that wish to refuse the COVID vaccine.
Other major news outlets have been publishing similar stories. This excerpt comes from a piece that was published by Reuters…
Gostin and five other health law experts said private companies in the United States have broad liberties to set health and safety standards, which would allow them to mandate vaccinations as a condition of employment with some exceptions.
It is almost as if there is a coordinated effort to make employers across the country aware that they can issue such mandates.