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Vaccinate or You’re Fired!

August 9, 2021

Employers are firing workers who abstain from the COVID-19 vaccine. Do employees no longer have rights? Do employers have the constitutional right to force a non-FDA approved vaccine on you?

Employers are firing workers who choose not to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The New York Times reports two unvaccinated workers lost their jobs at CNN. Tyson Foods announced that the COVID-19 vaccine is a condition of employment. Microsoft, Google, Disney and to some extent, Netflix, Uber, and Walmart have similar policies. Why are employers taking this unprecedented action? Is it due to pressure from the government?

Doug Seaton is an attorney and the president of Upper Midwest Law Center. His public interest law firm is litigating 25 cases involving employee rights to make their own health decisions. Seaton discusses medical and religious exemptions and the high bar employees face when taking such actions. What about Catholics? It’s tough to abstain from the vaccine for religious reasons when the Pope endorses vaccines and the Catholic Diocese of New York urges priests not to write religious exemptions. What about the American Disabilities Act? Seaton also discusses potential compromises. How far can employers go in requiring masks, testing and distancing? Can employees be treated like pariahs?

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AnneMarie Schieber is a research fellow at The Heartland Institute and managing editor of Health Care News, Heartland's monthly newspaper for health care reform. @HCPolicy