COVID Counterpunch

Lawsuits Filed: Employers Require Vaccines As OSHA Lifts Accountability

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich

In a major step to protect workers, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released guidance on April 20, 2021 that any adverse reactions caused by employer-mandated COVID vaccines would have to be reported as work-related illness or injury.

“In general, an adverse reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine is recordable if the reaction is: (1) work-related, (2) a new case, and (3) meets one or more of the general recording criteria in 29 CFR 1904.7 (e.g., days away from work, restricted work or transfer to another job, medical treatment beyond first aid).

If you require your employees to be vaccinated as a condition of employment (i.e., for work-related reasons), then any adverse reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine is work-related.”

As of Friday, May 21, 2021, this was still the guidance, but at some point over the weekend OSHA caved to the vaccine pushers and changed their tune.

This is the current guidance from the OSHA FAQ page:

“DOL and OSHA, as well as other federal agencies, are working diligently to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations. OSHA does not wish to have any appearance of discouraging workers from receiving COVID-19 vaccination, and also does not wish to disincentivize employers’ vaccination efforts.

As a result, OSHA will not enforce 29 CFR 1904’s recording requirements to require any employers to record worker side effects from COVID-19 vaccination through May 2022. We will reevaluate the agency’s position at that time to determine the best course of action moving forward.”

The official policy of the Biden Administration is that your employer can force you to be injected with experimental vaccines and not be held liable for any injury you suffer. If you refuse, they can fire you.

Which leads to an important question: What can people do to challenge employer-mandated vaccines? The answer is…complicated.

Lawsuits are already underway, and New Mexico may provide the first legal precedent. A corrections officer in Doña Ana County is challenging the county’s mandatory vaccination policy, citing the federal government’s own emergency use authorization laws.

Facing termination for refusing a vaccine, Officer Isaac Legaretta filed a complaint citing guidance from the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as statements from health officials that vaccines under emergency use authorizations may not be mandated.

“Defendants’ failure to comply with the federal law clearly is an obstacle to the purpose of the federal law, which is to allow people to not be compelled to take an unapproved drug or vaccine,” the complaint states.

This legal reasoning seems solid at first flush, because the federal government does not, in fact, mandate vaccines. However, some legal scholars point out that the situation may not be so straightforward and could depend on other employment laws and exemptions.

“It appears most employers are not mandating Covid-19 vaccines, but a mandatory vaccination policy may be defensible under federal, state and local employment laws if certain conditions are met.” —Jonathan A. Segal, Duane Morris LLP

The outcome of these lawsuits is anyone’s guess. The courts will decide. But employers and employees alike would be wise to consider their options carefully.

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