FACTBOX-COVID-19 and US Courts: Challenge Vaccine Requirements
U.S. employers, universities and local governments are increasingly implementing COVID-19 vaccination mandates to contain outbreaks of the disease, as infection rates remain high.
Workers who fear losing their jobs for refusing the shootings are turning to the courts. Here are some of the key cases. – Employees fighting against mandates and dismissals
Many large U.S. employers have announced vaccination warrants, including Walmart Inc, Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc, and the federal government. Legal experts have said that requiring vaccines is a way for an employer to meet its obligation to reduce workplace risks such as COVID-19.
Cases against government employers generally allege that the warrants violate the right to bodily integrity under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. Cases against private employers tend to focus on violations of laws that prohibit abuse based on disabilities and religious beliefs. In the first case involving an injunction against a private employer, a federal judge in Covington, Kentucky, upheld a vaccine requirement for staff at St. Elizabeth Healthcare, which operates facilities in the Cincinnati area. The judge said employees could refuse the vaccine and quit.
The Houston Methodist Hospital, which was the first major healthcare system to impose a COVID-19 vaccine requirement on employees, secured a swift dismissal of a case before an injunction was considered. Gainesville, Fla., Dropped its mandate covering about 2,200 city employees and contractors after a Florida judge temporarily blocked the requirement because the city failed to provide evidence it was serving a compelling interest . It appears to be the largest warrant to have been withdrawn.
– Mandate challenges for students and teachers More than 500 colleges and universities have imposed vaccine requirements and many have been challenged in court, sometimes for denying students requests for religious exemptions.
In the most detailed decision often cited by other courts, a federal judge said Indiana University acted reasonably to protect public health by requiring vaccines, or masking and testing. The judge said students could choose to attend another school or postpone their studies if they did not want to be vaccinated. Federal courts in similar cases have sided with the University of Massachusetts, the University of Connecticut and Creighton University in Nebraska.
A U.S. judge issued an injunction against the University of Western Michigan’s requirement for student-athletes because it violated students’ religious beliefs, and the judge ruled that the school could have achieved the same goals without inoculation . Federal and state judges have upheld New York City’s vaccine mandate for Department of Education employees. A U.S. appeals court briefly suspended the policy before allowing it to go ahead.
– Lawsuits Over Government Vaccine Requirements Some states have imposed requirements that healthcare workers receive COVID-19 vaccines while other states have banned vaccination mandates for public sector workers. Both approaches have given rise to legal challenges.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has been sued over a vaccine requirement for patrons of restaurants, theaters and gyms. The Montana Medical Association has sued to block a state law that prevents private employers in the state from requiring vaccines for employees.
In one of the first rulings, a New Mexico federal judge on September 13 upheld the state’s requirement to vaccinate hospital workers and attendees at state fairs, saying the order violated not a fundamental right. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd convinced a federal judge in Miami on August 8 to prevent Florida authorities from enforcing a state ban on “vaccine passports.” The move allowed the cruise line to require passengers boarding its ships in Florida to prove they had been vaccinated, without fear of the company being fined by state officials.
(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)