President Joe Biden‘s vaccination mandate for the private and public sector stirred outrage and threats of lawsuits over his ‘extraordinary sweeping use of presidential authority to force a medical treatment on workers’ as businesses big and small scramble to get clarity on the edict.
Ethan Brecher, a top labor lawyer and founder of The Law Office of Ethan A. Brecher in New York City, told DailyMail.com in an interview on Friday that he’s ‘never seen anything like this’ in his 30 years of practice.
‘This is a watershed moment in our history – compelling people to take a medical treatment,’ he said, adding that he believes it will be challenged in court.
‘The economy depends on companies going back to work, but there are people who are concerned about the vaccine. This mandate is an extraordinary sweeping use of presidential authority to force a medical treatment on workers.’
President Joe Biden’s executive orders announced Thursday require all executive-branch employees, federal contractors and millions of health-care workers to get the jab
Ethan Brecher , a top labor lawyer and founder of The Law Office of Ethan A. Brecher in New York City , told DailyMail.com in an interview on Friday that he’s ‘never seen anything like this’ in his 30 years of practice
Biden’s executive orders announced Thursday require all executive-branch employees, federal contractors and millions of health-care workers to get the jab. Large private employers must either mandate shots or provide weekly testing.
Labor lawyer Jesse Weinstein, from the Arce Law Group, said he and his law firm are already handling wrongful termination cases from employers in the Northeast who fired employees for not getting vaccinated and he expects the amount of cases to climb once this mandate is in full effect.
Weinstein said he foresees the biggest issue being medical exemptions and what constitutes a legitimate medical exemption.
He said the best advice he can give to employees – particularly those who have a medical reason for why they can’t get vaccinated – is to document everything and have a doctor’s note.
The language for the mandate is still being finalized by the administration, and some companies fear the new rules will drive the final nail in their pandemic-hit business.
‘The devil is in the details. Without additional clarification for the business community, employee anxieties and questions will multiply,’ Consumer Brands Association, which represents makers of packaged goods, told Bloomberg.
The Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration order will require employers with 100 or more workers to provide paid time off to get vaccinated.
Any business that violates the new rule will face substantial fines, up to $14,000.
Daniel Mehan, president and CEO of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, said the president’s vaccine plan raises more issues than provides answers, like who pays for the tests and what is the penalty for not providing tests?
‘These are questions that we’re getting asked right now by a manufacturer in St. Louis,’ Mehan told ABC17 News. ‘His employees are coming up and saying, “Do I pay for the tests I don’t want to get the vaccine?”‘
Lancaster, Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce President Tom Baldrige called the vaccination measure ‘unnecessary.’
‘I’m also quite confident that there will be lawsuits that follow this, that some companies that will refuse to comply and can file a legal action against the action, and we’ll, you know, we’ll see how the courts deal as that plays out,’ Baldrige told WGAL.
Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber, which represents the business interests of the Detroit region, told The Detroit Free Press that it opposes to a federal mandate.
‘A government mandate that encompasses businesses as small as 100 seems problematic from a political and logistical standpoint,’ Baruah said.
Kevin Kuhlman, Vice President of Federal Government Relations, (left), is concerned about the impact the new mandate will have on small businesses, and Jennifer Myers (right), a spokeswoman for the American Hotel and Lodging said they’re reviewing
Employers with over 100 employees will have to vaccinate workers under the president’s vaccine plan
But there’s been a hesitancy in some occupations for a host of reasons – chief among them are concerns about side effects, belief that the vaccine isn’t needed and distrust of the government, according to a study published in April by MedRxiv.
While there’s been no studies done on vaccination rates among different occupations, MedRxiv researched which occupations were most hesitant.
Construction workers and repairmen – at 46.4 percent and 42.6 percent, respectively – were the top two occupations who expressed hesitancy.
Losing frontline workers is also a concern for large companies, such as General Motors Co. and Delta Air Lines Inc.
Both companies issued statements outlining their efforts they’ve made to get employees inoculated but didn’t say whether they endorse the Biden plan, Bloomberg Business reported.
Conclusion from MedRxiv’s report about hesitancy in different occupations
Under the federal mandate, large private employers must either mandate shots or provide weekly testing, and all executive-branch employees, federal contractors and millions of health-care workers to get the jab
Other companies, including Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. and Intel Corp., said they’re studying it and waiting for more information.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said in a statement after Biden’s announcement that it ‘will carefully review the details of the executive orders and associated regulations.’
The federal entity ‘will work to ensure that employers have the resources, guidance, and flexibility necessary to ensure the safety of their employees and customers and comply with public health requirements.’
The tech industry has led the way for vaccine requirements, with Google instituting its vaccine policy back in July.
At the time, Google was one of the first major U.S. employers to enforce a vaccination mandate for people returning to the office, and Facebook quick followed suit.
Jennifer Myers, a spokeswoman for the American Hotel and Lodging Association, told The Washington Post that the organization and ‘our members are in the process of reviewing the President’s new guidance and as always we encourage all Americans get vaccinated.’
Other companies have already embraced vaccination mandates or were moving in that direction.
Some chambers of commerce – including San Diego and Indiana – have expressed their support for the president’s vaccine plan.
Jerry Sanders, President and CEO of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce, told The Times of San Diego,
‘The chamber has encouraged people to get vaccinated since it was made available. It is the best way to ensure businesses can safely stay open.’
But he expressed some reservations with the scant amount of details known, as of Friday afternoon.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said any federal employee who doesn’t get vaccinated can be fired
First Lady Jill Biden speaks alongside US President Joe Biden about coronavirus protections in schools during a visit to Brookland Middle School in Washington, DC on September 10
Confusion over Biden’s vaccine mandate as 600,000 USPS workers will be pressed to ‘comply’ through Labor Department rules for private sector and NOT the federal vaccine mandate
United States Postal Service workers who thought they were exempt from President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for all federal workers will not be able to avoid getting the jab after all.
But how the process will go into effect for the more than 600,000 USPS employees remains muddled as the White House sent out a clarification hours after Biden’s speech on Thursday, explaining that the USPS would follow the vaccine and testing guidelines of a private company, according to a White House official.
The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the Washington Post that the USPS was exempt from the mandate for public workers due to its status as an independent agency of the executive branch.
‘USPS has a separate statutory scheme and is traditionally independent of federal personnel actions like this,’ the Biden administration official said.
‘That said, USPS is strongly encouraged to comply. Also, [the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration] will cover USPS through the [emergency temporary standards], meaning that postal workers will be subject to the vaccination or testing policy announced today.’
This means rather than being treated like a federal agency, the USPS would follow the rules of private businesses after Biden ordered workers at companies with more than at least 100 employees to get vaccinated or tested weekly.
About 600,000 U.S. Postal Service employees will be exempt from the vaccine mandate for federal workers. Pictured, a mail carrier delivering mail in Fairfax, Virginia
Joe Biden issued vaccine mandates for federal employees and worker in companies that hire 100 or more people during his speech on Thursday
About 75% of eligible adults in the U.S. have gotten at least one jab of the vaccine
The mandate will also force the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to develop emergency regulations requiring these companies to give employees paid time off to get inoculated.
Employers could also face fines of nearly $14,000 per violation, Bloomberg reports.
‘If you want to work with the federal government and do business with us, get vaccinated. If you want to do business with the federal government, vaccinate your workforce,’ Biden said.
USPS employees will be treated like private employees and have the option of either getting fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or taking weekly tests
Millions of people across the U.S. will be required to the COVID-19 vaccine
Biden targets the unvaccinated with new COVID plan
The president has faced backlash over the mandate as Republicans have threatened to sue to block the order.
Joshua Bolten, president and CEO of the Business Roundtable, a group of chief executives from companies including Amazon, Walmart and Home Depot, said in a statement Thursday that it ‘welcomes the Biden Administration’s continued vigilance in the fight against COVID.’
‘America’s business leaders know how critical vaccination and testing are in defeating the pandemic,’ he said.
The National Federation of Independent Business, which advocates for small and independent business owners, said its members will be hit hardest by the vaccine mandate.
Kevin Kuhlman, Vice President of Federal Government Relations, said in a statement that the pandemic has already hamstrung small and independent businesses – most notably finding and retaining qualified workers.
‘Small business owners and their employees want to operate in a safe and healthy manner that allows them to stay open,’ Kuhlman told The Washington Post.
‘Additional mandates, enforcement, and penalties will further threaten the fragile small business recovery.’
Kuhlman and the organization’s fears are supported by a recent poll conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) that said 28 percent of employees said they would rather lose their job than get the vaccine.
The poll was published before Biden laid out his vaccine plan on Thursday.
A few of the U.S.’s largest companies – such Walmart, CVS, AT&T, Goldman Sachs, Tyson Foods, United Airlines, several media outlets, among dozens of others – have already imposed a variation of vaccine mandates.
But each one is different and not comprehensive.
For example, Walmart’s mandate applies to corporate workers; not its frontline workers over fears that forcing the employees to get the vaccine will push people to quit and weaken an already-reduced workforce.
Meanwhile, Tyson Foods has required vaccines for its entire U.S. workforce as a term of employment, and United Airlines said workers who aren’t vaccinated or get an exception will be placed on leave.
Biden’s vaccine mandates gives federal employees and contractors 75 days to get fully vaccinated or be fired.
The vaccine requirement will include exemptions for individuals with disabilities and for those who refuse the vaccination on religious grounds.
The U.S.’s largest union – The National Education Association, which represents more than three million teachers, faculty, educational support professionals, school administrators and retired educators – said in a statement Thursday that it supports Biden’s mandate.
The United Auto Workers union said in a statement that it is ‘looking at the details of the announcement and how it impacts our over 700 employer contracts and our members.’
President Ray Curry said last month that he supported only voluntary vaccinations and mandates would need to be agreed through negotiation.
The Teamsters, which represent about 1.4 million workers, declined to comment.
Many police unions have been outspoken against a mandate – including the NYC PBA, which threatened to sue if that was imposed.
The mandate riled up Republican officials who tore into Biden after his announcement.
‘Forcing this and coercing people, I don’t think is the right decision. I’d imagine that you’re gonna see a lot of activity in the courts if they try to do that through an executive action,’ Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said during a press conference Thursday.
The Republican National Committee says that it intends to sue to block Biden’s order from taking effect, and several House Republicans plan to introduce legislation to negate the order.
But the law appears to be on Biden’s side, but Brechar said it will likely have to play out in courts.
In May, the EEOC said Federal EEO laws do not prevent an employer from requiring employees who physically enter a workplace to be vaccinated for COVID-19, so long as employers comply with the reasonable accommodation provisions of the ADA.
Employers are also allowed to ask about a worker’s vaccination status, which is not protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA).
The law, which protects a patient’s confidential health information, applies only to companies and professionals in the health care field.
Companies across the country impose vaccine mandates for workers – and even visitors
AT&T – Only managers must be vaccinated
Amtrak – All employees must be vaccinated by Nov. 1 and new employees must show proof of vaccination starting Oct. 4. Employees could be granted medical or religious exemptions and will instead undergo weekly Covid-19 testing
Ascension Health – All employees must be vaccinated by Nov. 12, including those working remotely
Centene Corporation – All employees must provide proof of vaccination or undergo regular Covid-19 testing and wear masks at all times in the office
Chevron – Expatriate employees, workers traveling internationally, and employees on U.S.-flagged ships must be vaccinated. Offshore workers in the Gulf of Mexico must be vaccinated by Nov. 1
Cisco – All office workers must be vaccinated
Citigroup – All employees working in major cities must be vaccinated
CNN – All employees must be vaccinated and three have already been fired for violating the policy
CVS – Pharmacists must be vaccinated by Nov. 30 and corporate workers must be vaccinated by Oct. 31, with exemptions for medical and religious reasons
Deloitte – All employees must be vaccinated by Oct. 11
Delta Air Lines – All employees must be vaccinated or pay an additional $200 per month for their company-sponsored healthcare plan
DoorDash – All corporate employees working in person must be vaccinated
Envision Healthcare – All employees must be vaccinated by Nov. 1 with medical and religious exemptions
Equinox – New York City employees and members must be vaccinated beginning in September
Facebook – All US office workers must be vaccinated
Ford – All employees who travel for international business must be vaccinated
Frontier Airlines – All employees must be vaccinated by Oct. 1 or undergo weekly Covid-19 testing
Gilead Sciences – All U.S. employees and contractors must be vaccine by Oct. 1 with exemptions for medical and religious reasons
Goldman Sachs – All office staff and visitors must be vaccinated and will be subjected to regular Covid-19 testing starting September 7, with no exemptions
Google – All office workers must be vaccinated
Hawaii Airlines – All employees must be vaccinated by Nov. 1, but could apply for medical or religious exemptions and instead undergo regular Covid-19 testing
Hess – Employees who work in the Gulf of Mexico must be vaccinated by Nov. 1
Johnson and Johnson – All U.S. employees must be vaccinated by Oct. 4 with exemptions for medical or religious reason
Lyft – All office workers must be vaccinated
McDonald’s – All U.S. employees, excluding those at corporate or franchise restaurants, must be vaccinated by Oct. 11
MGM Resorts – Salaried office employees must be vaccinated by Oct. 15 and new office employees must be vaccinated starting Aug. 30. Las Vegas employees must undergo regular Covid-19 testing
Microsoft – All office workers and guests must be vaccinated by Oct. 4
Moderna – All US employees must be vaccinated by October
Morgan Stanley – All employees must be vaccinated by Oct. 1
Netflix – Anyone working in or visiting the company’s offices must be vaccinated
Northwestern Mutual – All office workers must be vaccinated with exemptions for medical or religious reason
Norwegian Cruise Line – All crew and passengers must be vaccinated at least two weeks before boarding
Pfizer – All U.S. employees and contractors must be vaccinated or undergo weekly Covid-19 testing
Politico – All employees must be vaccinated
Saks Fifth Avenue – All office employees must be vaccinated
Salesforce – All office workers must be vaccinated
The New York Times – All office workers must be vaccinated
The Washington Post – All employees must be vaccinated by Sept. 13
TJX – Only Home and Regional Office Associates must be vaccinated by Nov. 1 with medical and religious exemptions
Twitter – All office workers in San Francisco and New York must be vaccinated
Tyson Foods – All U.S. employees must be vaccinated by Oct. 1 and other staffers by Nov. 1 with medical and religious exemptions
Uber – All office workers must be vaccinated
United Airlines – All U.S. employees must be vaccinated by Oct. 25 with medical and religious exemptions
UPS – All headquarters and office building employees must be vaccinated by Oct. 1
Walgreens – All workers in support offices must be vaccinated by Sept. 30 or undergo weekly Covid-19 testing
Walmart – All staff at its headquarters and managers traveling within the U.S. must be vaccinated by Oct. 4, with medical and religious exemptions
Walt Disney parks – All on-site salaried and non-union employees must be vaccinated. Union employees have until Oct. 22 with medical and religious exemptions