LIEB BLOG

How current events impact business & real estate

Showing posts with label mandate. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mandate. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Fake News Alert - TX & Abbott with Employer Anti-Vaccine Mandate

Everywhere you look, the media is saying TX isn't permitting employer vaccine mandates, but that is NOT what is happening. To be clear, vaccine mandates are still permissible in TX. 


You can read Governor Abbott's Executive Order GA-40 here


As you can clearly see, all the Order prohibits are vaccine mandates that do not provide a mechanism for those who object to the "vaccination for any reason of personal conscience, based on religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from COVID-19." 


This is almost entirely consistent with existing law and how, just about, every court case is shaking out with respect to vaccine mandates, with a few minor wrinkles that can't be ignored. The two wrinkles in the Order are:

  1. Not utilizing the term "sincerely held" prior to "religious beliefs," which thereby seems to expand the standard in protecting religion, which doesn't appear legally problematic; and, 
  2. Misstating the disability / handicap prong. 
    • Under existing disability / handicap law, an accommodation is never available just because the existence of a disability / handicap renders the policy (i.e., vaccination) unnecessary, which appears to be the intention of the wording where it states, "including prior recovery from COVID-19." 
    • Instead, under existing law, an accommodation is only available where a disability or handicap requires an accommodation for equality to exist. Stated otherwise, one needs a qualifying disability to receive an accommodation in the first instance, without it, there is nothing to accommodate. 
    • To be clear, under existing law, having had recovered from COVID-19 is NOT a disability that is recognized. We wonder how this aspect of the Order will shake out and more so, how the Supremacy Clause will shake out if / when the Federal Government responds.  


Do you see the distinction? Does the distinction matter?




Tuesday, September 28, 2021

NYC Permitted to Require Vaccinations of School Employees by Second Circuit Court of Appeals

 According to the Second Circuit:

This Court entered a temporary injunction in the above-captioned case on Friday, September 24, 2021 for administrative purposes pending decision by a three-judge panel. IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the September 24 injunction is DISSOLVED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the motion for an injunction pending appeal is DENIED.


That said, not getting vaccinated does not equal automatic termination


As the City explained in their opposition to the injunction, "even employees who object to vaccination... can elect to stay home and retain their positions while being placed on unpaid leave with healthcare until early September 2022... And even if plaintiffs decline the extended leave option, the earliest any steps would be taken to terminate their employment would occur in December 2021." 


So, "employees who fail to submit proof of having received one dose of vaccination by September 27, 2021, are to be placed on unpaid leave with health insurance the following day. [internal citation] But an employee who submits proof of vaccination before November 30, 2021, will be able to return to work within a week. [internal citation] And an employee who submits proof of vaccination thereafter, but before September 5, 2022, will be able to return to work within two weeks." 


As to accommodations, the City is granting accommodations "for a religious or medical" needs. However, an underlying arbitration on the matter set "an alternative to any statutory reasonable accommodation process... for the 2021-2022 school year" where the deadline for "any requests to be considered as part of this process... [was] no later than Monday, September 20, 2021, by 5:00 p.m." Therefore, any school employee who has not yet applied for an accommodation, CANNOT get one. 


The City's opposition summed this entire situation up nicely where it stated, "Put bluntly, plaintiffs do not have a substantive due process right to teach children without being vaccinated against a dangerous infectious disease."








Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Vaccines vs. Sincerely Held Religious Beliefs - First Round Goes to Religion

The Federal Court for the Northern District of New York has enjoined vaccine mandates based upon sincerely held religious beliefs by way of issuing a Temporary Restraining Order in the case of Dr. A v. Hochul.  


Here is how the plaintiffs' argued that the vaccine violate their sincerely held religious beliefs - "vaccines [] were tested, developed or produced with fetal cells line derived from procured abortions." According to the plaintiffs:

 Johnson & Johnson/Janssen: Fetal cell cultures are used to produce and manufacture the J&J COVID-19 vaccine and the final formulation of this vaccine includes residual amounts of the fetal host cell proteins (≤0.15 mcg) and/or host cell DNA (≤3 ng).

 Pfizer/BioNTech: The HEK-293 abortion-related cell line was used in research related to the development of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

 Moderna/NIAID: Aborted fetal cell lines were used in both the development and testing of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.

Further, plaintiffs religious beliefs are that they "oppose abortion under any circumstances, as they believe that abortion is the intrinsically evil killing of an innocent" and follow "spiritual leaders... who urge Christians to refuse said vaccines to avoid cooperation in abortion and to bear witness against it without compromise" and finally, their "religious conviction [is] against involuntary or coerced vaccination as an invasion of bodily autonomy contrary to their religious beliefs."


To be clear, the case is far from over with the next court deadline for the defendants to respond being set at September 22, 2021 at 5pm. As of this moment, no preliminary injunction or permanent injunction has been ordered. At this stage, the court has merely granted a temporary restraining order, which prohibits the denial of "religious exemptions from COVID-19 vaccination" until round two of the case.


However, if you are the type of person who has a sincerely held religious belief against vaccination, you should use this case as your blueprint to request an accommodation.