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50-state Update on Pending Legislation Pertaining to Employer-mandated Vaccinations

 
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Per recent federal employment law guidance, private employers can generally require employees to get vaccinated for COVID-19 as long as they comply with federal employment laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of religion and disability.

At the state level, with the increasing availability of the COVID-19 vaccine, a number of states are beginning to consider passing legislation to prevent employers from mandating vaccinations and protect those who refuse vaccinations. This type of pending legislation is at various phases and, at this point, no legislation specifically pertaining to refusal of the COVID-19 vaccine has been passed into law. Instead, like at the federal level, most states currently permit objections to employer-mandated vaccinations based only on religious or medical reasons.

However, a number states are considering passing more protective legislation for those refusing to get vaccinated. The proposed legislation varies by state as far as who would be shielded from mandatory vaccinations. A number of states would permit employer-mandated vaccinations but expand the federally recognized religious exemption to recognize any philosophical objection or objection of the conscience. Some states would prohibit employer-mandated vaccinations outright, while a number of states would permit mandated vaccinations only for employees who work in a healthcare facility or with medically vulnerable populations.

A few bills propose to go a step further than only shielding from discrimination in the employment context. In these states, public entities—including schools—and even some private businesses would be prohibited from denying entry or refusing to provide goods and services to individuals who have refused the vaccination.

Please click on the state you are interested in to view state-specific information:

Alabama

(Pending Legislation): House Bill 214 would prohibit employers from taking adverse action against employees or prospective employees based on immunization status. Adverse action against an employee would include discharging, refusing to promote, harassing or reducing the compensation of such employee. Current or former employees may pursue civil action against an employer for a violation and are entitled to injunctive relief, back pay and/or punitive damages. Additionally, this Bill would prohibit ticket issuers from denying persons entry into entertainment events based on immunization status. Ticket issuers include venue operators, event sponsors, participating sports teams, theater companies, musical groups and their agents. The Bill was referred to the Committee on Commerce and Small Business on February 2, 2021.

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Alaska

(Pending Legislation): Senate Bill No. 56 would, among other things, prevent healthcare providers from administering COVID-19 vaccines to any individual who has not given informed consent. The Bill would also permit individuals to object to vaccination on religious, medical or other grounds, and those individuals cannot be required to provide justification or documentation to support their decision. Governor Dunleavy proposed the Bill on January 25, 2021, and the Bill failed to be discharged from the Finance Committee on February 12, 2021.

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Arizona

(Pending Legislation): Senate Bill 1648 would prohibit individuals and entities from requiring persons to take, be administered or otherwise receive or disclose whether they have taken, been administered or otherwise received a COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of: (i) employment, (ii) entry into a public space or (iii) receipt of goods or services. Under the Bill, public space includes spaces of public accommodation, indoor or outdoor buildings or spaces that are owned, leased, operated, occupied or otherwise used by a public body, and indoor or outdoor buildings or spaces that are generally open to the public. The Bill was referred to the Senate Committees on Commerce and Rules on February 3, 2021.

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Arkansas

(Pending Legislation): House Bill 1547 would prohibit employers from requiring or mandating an employee to receive an immunization or COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment. Under the Bill, employers are prohibited from doing any of the following: (i) coercing employees into consenting to a COVID-19 vaccination, (ii) creating a hostile work environment for non-consenting employees, (iii) withholding certain benefits from non-consenting employees or (iv) dismissing non-consenting employees without first offering reasonable accommodations. The Bill was read and referred to the Committee on Public Health and the House Welfare and Labor Committee on February 23, 2021.

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California

At this time, California has no relevant pending legislation.

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Colorado

Colorado’s relevant pending legislation was tabled indefinitely.

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Connecticut

(Pending Legislation): 

Senate Bill No. 405 would prohibit the state from mandating a vaccine that has only been given emergency use authorization from the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Bill was referred to the Joint Committee on Public Health on January 26, 2021.

House Bill No. 5401 would prohibit the state or any employee of the state from mandating COVID-19 vaccination. Similarly, House Bill No. 5402 would prohibit employers and public officials from requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Both Bills were referred to the Joint Committee on Public Health on January 22, 2021.

With regards to exemptions from mandatory vaccinations for school-aged children and college students, two varied pieces of legislation have been introduced. Senate Bill No. 436 would expand exemptions to state mandatory vaccination laws for school-aged children. The Bill was referred to the Joint Committee on Education on January 27, 2021. Contrarily, Senate Bill No. 568 would eliminate the nonmedical exemption to the immunization requirement for individuals attending public or private school from PreK-12th grade, those in higher education and children in daycare settings. The Bill was referred to the Joint Committee on Public Health on January 27, 2021.

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Delaware

(Pending Legislation): Senate Bill 58 would remove the state’s authority to forcibly isolate, quarantine, vaccinate or treat individuals against their will for COVID-19 during a state of emergency related to COVID-19. The Bill was introduced on February 12, 2021, and is awaiting consideration in Committee.

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District of Columbia

D.C. Act 23-384, among other things, prevents employers from taking adverse actions against employees who: (i) refuse to service customers or clients who are not complying with certain workplace protections, (ii) have tested positive for COVID-19, (iii) have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, (iv) are sick and awaiting COVID-19 test results, (v) are caring for someone with COVID-19 or (vi) attempt to exercise any right under DC’s COVID-19 Workplace Safety Protections. Employers can, however, prohibit employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 from entering the workplace, until they have been cleared by a medical professional or the requisite quarantine period has ended. Under the Act, the Mayor may impose penalties of up to $500 for violations of this anti-relation provision.

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Florida

(Pending Legislation):

SB 1022 would require childcare facilities to demonstrate a minimum percentage of children enrolled who have received immunizations in order to obtain licensure through the Department of Children and Families. The Bill was referred to the Health Policy Committee and the Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee on February 10, 2021.

HB 6003 would remove the authority of the State Health Officer to order vaccinations upon declaration of a public health emergency. The Bill was referred to the Pandemics and Public Emergencies Committee, the Professions and Public Health Subcommittee, and the Health and Human Services Committee on January 15, 2021, and a first reading occurred on March 2, 2021.

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Georgia

(Pending Legislation): House Bill 413 would bar any employer, school, government official or law from requiring someone to get a vaccination unless it meets certain criteria. Before a vaccine can be mandated, the Bill requires that the vaccine: (i) receive general FDA approval (not emergency approval), (ii) is evaluated for long-term effects for at least three years with the use of control groups receiving a placebo, (iii) show that the risk of disability or death be less than the risk of the disease, and (iv) possible transmission must represent a grave risk to the public. The Bill would also maintain a person’s ability to object in writing to any vaccine based on philosophical beliefs. The Bill was introduced on February 11, 2021, and is pending approval of the Health and Human Services Committee.

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Hawaii

At this time, Hawaii has no relevant pending legislation.

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Idaho

(Pending Legislation):

House Bill 63 would protect individuals from forced or coerced vaccination and prohibit vaccination mandates within the state. The Bill was referred to the Ways & Means Committee on February 1, 2021.

The Idaho Legislature, through House Concurrent Resolution 9, affirmed that it would oppose efforts by any person or entity, including the federal government, to require, mandate or force the immunization, vaccination, inoculation or genetic modulation of any person against their will. The Resolution was referred to the Health and Welfare Committee on February 26, 2021.

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Illinois

(Pending Legislation): House Bill 3682 would create the Workplace Vaccination Program Limitation Act , which would prohibit employers from creating, implementing or enforcing a workplace vaccination program that requires any employee to demonstrate that they have received a COVID-19 vaccine. The Bill was referred to the Rules Committee on February 22, 2021.

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Indiana

(Pending Legislation):

Senate Bill 74 would prohibit employers from requiring, as a condition of employment, employees or prospective employees to receive any immunization if it is medically contraindicated for the employee or against their religious beliefs or conscience. The Bill was referred to the Committee on Pensions and Labor on January 4, 2021.

House Bill No. 1488 would prohibit employers from requiring, as a condition of employment, that employees or prospective employees receive immunizations that have been approved for emergency use and that lack full approval from the FDA. The Bill would further prohibit employers from inquiring about or requiring employees or prospective employees to disclose the reason(s) for refusing such an immunization. The Bill was referred to the Committee on Employment, Labor and Pensions on January 14, 2021.

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Iowa

(Pending Legislation): House File 330 and Senate File 193 would prohibit employers from refusing to hire, discharging, penalizing or otherwise discriminating against employees with respect to compensation or the terms, conditions or privileges of employment based on vaccination history, refusal to receive a vaccine or failure to provide proof of immunity. The protections would allow employees to decline vaccination for any reason, not just religious or medical objections to vaccination. To ensure compliance, employees whose rights were violated could seek injunctive relief, actual damages, admission, reinstatement with back pay plus 10 percent interest, or any other appropriate relief. The House Bill was introduced on February 2, 2021. On February 16, 2021, the relevant subcommittee recommended passage of the Senate Bill.

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Kansas

(Pending Legislation): Senate Bill 213 would prohibit employers from taking adverse action against employees who refuse to get the COVID-19 vaccine. An adverse action is defined as an ultimate employment decision involving hiring, firing, compensation, benefits, or the failure to promote or grant leave. The Bill would impose a $1,000 fine for employers who violate this restriction. The Bill was referred to the Committee on Commerce on February 11, 2021, and a hearing took place on February 25, 2021.

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Kentucky

(Pending Legislation):

House Bill 36 would prohibit required immunization of any person by any state agency or instrumentality. The Bill was referred to the House Committee on January 5, 2021.

House Bill 101 would prohibit public and private postsecondary educational institutions from requiring students to receive any vaccination unless they are participating in an educational program that involves the delivery of healthcare services. The Bill was referred to the House Committee on January 5, 2021.

Senate Bill 37 would prohibit compulsory immunization of any person by any state agency or instrumentality. The Bill was referred to the Senate Health and Welfare Committee on February 2, 2021.

Senate Bill 98 would prohibit employers from requiring immunization as a condition of employment or discriminating against individuals who decline immunization for any reason. The Bill was referred to the Senate Health and Welfare Committee on February 4, 2021.

Senate Bill 8 would provide exemptions from mandatory immunization for any child, emancipated minor or adult who, personally or by a parent or guardian, submits a written sworn statement objecting to immunization based on conscientiously held beliefs. In addition, the Bill would prohibit any administrative regulation, administrative order or executive order from requiring immunization during an epidemic if a person submits either a written sworn statement objecting to immunization based on conscientiously held beliefs or the written opinion of a physician that immunization would be injurious to their health. The Bill was referred to the House Health and Family Services Committee on February 23, 2021.

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Louisiana

Louisiana’s relevant pending legislation died in committee.

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Maine

LD 798 removes certain exemptions from laws governing immunization requirements. Specifically, the Bill eliminates all non-medical vaccine opt-outs (e.g., religious and philosophical exemptions) for students and public and private schools, universities and nursery schools. Healthcare facilities and employees are also no longer permitted to refuse vaccination for non-medical reasons. This bill was signed into law on May 24, 2019. There is no pending legislation specifically related to COVID-19.

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Maryland

(Pending Legislation): House Bill 1171 would prohibit an employer from terminating an employee for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine. The Bill provides that employees who refuse vaccination waive the right to file a civil action against their employer if they contract COVID-19 during the course of employment. The Bill was referred to the Economic Matters Committee on February 8, 2021, and a hearing is scheduled to take place on March 9, 2021.

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Massachusetts

At this time, Massachusetts has no relevant pending legislation.

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Michigan

At this time, Michigan has no relevant pending legislation.

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Minnesota

(Pending Legislation): HF0041 would prohibit vaccine administration without the written consent of the person receiving the vaccine. Under the Bill, an individual’s decision not to receive a vaccination is an impermissible basis to deny the individual an ability to engage in commerce. The Bill would further bar the government and businesses operating in the state from discriminating against an individual based on immunization status and from requiring proof of vaccination to enter into buildings open to the public. Violation of the Bill’s anti-discrimination provision could result in a felony charge with a minimum of 10 years in prison. The Bill was introduced on December 14, 2020, and thereafter referred to the Health and Human Services Policy Committee. 

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Mississippi

Mississippi’s relevant pending legislation died in committee.

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Missouri

(Pending Legislation): House Bill 838 would prohibit any public employer from requiring any public employee to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. The Bill would also prohibit a political subdivision from adopting any ordinance, rule or regulation requiring a public employer to implement a policy mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for public employees. The Bill was read for the second time on January 15, 2021.

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Montana

(Pending Legislation):

Senate Bill 132 would require that accommodations to employer-mandated vaccination be uniformly applied. If an employer requires employees to be vaccinated but offers alternatives (e.g., religious exemptions) to certain employees, those alternatives must be offered to all employees. The Bill was tabled in the Second House Committee on February 19, 2021.

House Bill 334 would expand which providers can write student medical exemptions for vaccines required for school attendance. Under the Bill, students could enroll in and attend school without receiving vaccines based on a medical exemption, if they submit a written medical exemption signed by a licensed or certified healthcare provider. Health departments would be prohibited from reviewing completed medical exemption statements. Students could also enroll in and attend school without receiving vaccines for religious reasons, if they present a notarized affidavit signed by a parent, guardian or custodian. The first reading of the Bill took place on March 1, 2021.

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Nebraska

(Pending Legislation):

Legislative Bill 643 would give individuals the right to decline mandatory vaccine directives from the state. In addition, parents would be permitted to decline vaccination for their children and employers could decline vaccination for their employees. The Bill explicitly says that anyone who declines a mandatory vaccination will not be subject to a penalty, litigation or punishment from the state. The Bill was referred to the Health and Human Services Committee on January 22, 2021.

Legislative Bill 447 would change provisions relating to immunization under the Child Care Licensing Act. Specifically, the Bill would eliminate parents’ ability to opt out of their children’s immunizations before sending them to licensed childcare centers, unless the parent provides certification from a medical provider that immunization is not appropriate for a stated medical reason. The Bill was referred to the Health and Human Services Committee on January 20, 2021.

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Nevada

At this time, Nevada has no relevant pending legislation.

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New Hampshire

(Pending Legislation): House Bill 220 would establish a policy of medical freedom with regard to immunizations for communicable diseases. Under the Bill, medical freedom means that every person has the inalienable right to bodily integrity, free from any threat or compulsion that the person accepts any medical intervention, including immunization. Further, the Bill includes that no person may be discriminated against for refusal to accept an unwanted medical intervention, including immunization. This Bill is currently in committee, but if it passes, the Bill shall take effect 60 days after its passage.

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New Jersey

Under the New Jersey vaccination law, each healthcare facility shall require their employees to receive an annual influenza vaccination, unless the employee has a medical exemption because the vaccination is medically contraindicated. Additionally, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination prohibits employers from mandating anything that would require the employee to violate or forego a sincerely held religious belief.

(Pending Legislation): Assembly Bill No. 5096 prohibits State, county and local government entities, as well as public and private childcare centers, preschool programs, elementary and secondary schools, and higher education institutions from mandating that any person receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The Bill’s restrictions will not apply to those required to receive immunization as a condition of working with a medically vulnerable population, including healthcare workers or individuals employed by or providing services at a healthcare facility. The healthcare worker exemption will be subject to an exemption for those individuals objecting based on sincerely held religious beliefs. Further, the Bill requires the New Jersey Department of Health to establish a program to reimburse healthcare workers and others, required to be vaccinated, for out-of-pocket costs. The Bill will take effect immediately, if passed.

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New Mexico

(Pending Legislation): Senate Bill 408 provides for a “right of bodily integrity,” which includes a person’s right to accept or reject medial intervention free from any threat or compulsion. Under the Bill, medical intervention includes puncturing someone’s skin and inserting a foreign substance into someone, so receiving a vaccine would likely qualify as a medical intervention. The Bill states that is an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer to refuse to hire, to discharge, to promote or demote, or to discriminate because of a “right to bodily integrity.” This Bill is currently in the Senate Health and Public Affairs Committee.

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New York

Under New York Public Health Law, there are no non-medical exemptions from vaccination requirements for children. In 2019, the state legislature repealed the exemption for those with genuine and sincere religious beliefs.

(Pending Legislation):

Assembly Bill 2081 would amend the Public Health Law to direct the Commissioner of New York Department of Health to mandate a COVID-19 vaccine for both the vulnerable populations residing at, and employees working at, residential healthcare facilities. The Bill was introduced on January 14, 2021, and has since been referred to the Assembly Health Committee.

Assembly Bill 4602 prohibits required vaccination for the purpose of inducing immunity against COVID-19 as a requirement for employment or continued employment. Further, no immunization against COVID-19 will be required for the following activities: (i) school attendance of students and staff, (ii) travel, (iii) receipt of government services, (iii) entrance into public buildings, (iv) use of public transportation or (v) nursing home residency. Further, the Bill says no person shall be required to have, carry or present evidence of having received immunization against COVID-19. Similarly, Assembly Bill 4269 prohibits required vaccinations. Further, the Bill prohibits required vaccination for children under the age of 18 and incapacitated individuals. Both Bills are currently in the Assembly Health Committee, but if passed, both would take effect immediately.

With regards to exemptions from mandatory vaccinations, Senate Bill S02677 would provide a religious exemption for school children whose parents hold genuine and sincere religious beliefs and Senate Bill S02678 provides a medical exemption to mandatory vaccinations, by allowing a physician to provide a certification that a vaccine may be detrimental to the health of a patient. Both Bills have been referred to the Senate Health Committee.

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North Carolina

Under the North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Act, employers are not authorized to mandate immunization for religious objectors, except where it is necessary for the protection of the health or safety of others.

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North Dakota

North Dakota’s relevant pending legislation was voted down on February 4, 2021.

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Ohio

(Pending Legislation): House Bill 268 would prohibit an employer from taking an adverse action against an unvaccinated employee. The bill was introduced on May 28, 2019, and referred to the Committee on Commerce and Labor on June 4, 2019. No action has been taken since.

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Oklahoma

(Pending Legislation):

Senate Bill 765 would prohibit employers from requiring employees or applicants for employment to submit to a COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment or continued employment. Employers who recommend that their employees or applicants for employment take a COVID-19 vaccination would be required to pay for the cost of the vaccination. The Bill would also require employees who voluntarily get a COVID-19 vaccination to sign a written statement explaining the person’s right to refuse the vaccination without retaliation or discrimination. Any violation of the Bill would constitute a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $100. The Bill was referred to the Business, Commerce, and Tourism Committee on February 2, 2021.

Senate Bill 846 would prohibit employers from requiring employees to get a COVID-19 vaccination or disciplining employees for not getting a vaccination, if fetal cells were used in the development of the vaccine or if taking the vaccine would be a violation of an employee’s sincerely held religious belief. This exemption would also apply to volunteers or applicants for employment. A violation of this Bill would constitute a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $100. The Bill was referred to the Business, Commerce and Tourism Committee on February 2, 2021.

House Bill 1057 would prohibit public and private employers from requiring a COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment. If approved, this Bill would become effective on November 1, 2021. This Bill was referred to the States Rights Committee on February 2, 2021.

House Bill 1671 would prohibit private and public employers from requiring a COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment. If approved, this Bill would become effective on November 1, 2021. This Bill was referred to the Rules Committee on February 2, 2021.

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Oregon

Since 1989, Oregon law has prohibited employers from requiring vaccinations as a condition of employment for healthcare workers, unless the vaccination is otherwise required by federal or state law, rule or regulation. Under Oregon law, healthcare workers include: (i) a person licensed to provide healthcare, (ii) an employee of a healthcare facility, (iii) an employee of a licensed healthcare provider, (iv) an employee of a clinical laboratory, (v) a firefighter, (vi) a law enforcement officer, (vii) a corrections officer or (viii) a parole or probation officer.

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Pennsylvania

(Pending Legislation): House Bill 262 would prohibit employers from discharging, refusing to hire, threatening or otherwise discriminating or retaliating against employees or prospective employees who refuse to participate in an employer-required vaccination or an invasive medical test. Employers also would be prohibited from taking adverse action against employees who inform other employees of these provisions. The definition of invasive medical test includes a test or screening that requires employees to provide samples of bodily fluids, bodily tissue or genetic material. Under the Bill, employees would have a right to bring an action against employers and would be entitled to: (i) reinstatement, (ii) restitution (equal to three times the amount of the employee’s wages and fringe benefits or prospective wages and benefits), (iii) reasonable attorney fees and costs and (iv) any other court-approved relief. This Bill was referred to the Committee on Labor and Industry on January 26, 2021.

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Rhode Island

(Pending Legislation): House Bill 5989 would prohibit discrimination with respect to employment, public accommodations, and credit against individuals who refuse to be vaccinated or show proof of vaccination. Further, the Bill would make it an unlawful employment practice to refuse to hire, discharge, penalize or discriminate against an individual, including any healthcare professional, on the basis of the individual’s vaccination history or refusal to receive a vaccine. Additionally, the Bill would prohibit the governor from mandating vaccinations under any executive order or proclamation. The Bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee on February 26, 2021.

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South Carolina

(Pending Legislation): Bill 3511 would prohibit employers from taking any adverse action including, but not limited to, termination, suspension, involuntary reassignment or demotion against employees who refuse the COVID-19 vaccine. The bill was introduced to the Committee on Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs on January 12, 2021. 

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South Dakota

(Pending Legislation):

House Bill 1159 would prohibit interference with the “right to bodily integrity” in contagious disease control. Further, the Bill prohibits any discrimination or retaliation against those who refuse a vaccine, with respect to association, education, employment, housing, property rights, public accommodations or public services. However, the Bill does allow an employer to take the necessary steps to screen any person entering the workplace, in order to determine whether the person has an infectious, contagious or possibly contagious disease, if the screening is job-related and consistent with business necessity. The bill passed in the Health and Human Services Committee on February 11, 2021.

House Bill 1097 would provide for philosophical exceptions to required vaccinations for school children and students enrolling in public or private postsecondary education. Normally, parents and guardians must present to a school a certificate from a licensed physician indicating a child has received or is in the process of receiving adequate immunizations. The Bill would allow parents or guardians to present a written statement signed by parents or guardians indicating that the child, parent or guardian is opposed to such immunization because of a sincerely held religious or philosophical belief. The bill passed the Health and Human Services Committee on February 4, 2021.

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Tennessee

(Pending Legislation): Senate Bill 564, creates a civil cause of action for discrimination based on a COVID-19 vaccine status. A COVID-19 vaccine status means an individual’s dosage or schedule for a vaccine specifically designed for COVID-19, including whether the individual has not received, or has opted not to receive, the vaccine. The discrimination prohibited includes a direct or indirect act or practice of exclusion, distinction, restriction, segregation, limitation, refusal, denial, or other act or practice of differentiation or preference. The Bill would impose a $1,000 fine for the first act of discrimination, a $10,000 fine for the second act of discrimination, and a $750,000 fine for a third or subsequent act of discrimination. The Bill was assigned to the Civil Justice Subcommittee on February 24, 2021.

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Texas

(Pending Legislation): On February 8, 2021, House Bill 1687 was filed which would prohibit employment discrimination based on an employee’s vaccine status. Under the Bill, if due to an employee’s unvaccinated status an employer (i) fires, (ii) fails to hire or (iii) otherwise discriminates against an individual with respect to compensation or the terms, conditions or privileges of employment, the employer commits an unlawful employment practice. The Bill also prohibits discrimination by labor organizations and employment agencies. A labor organization commits an unlawful employment practice if the organization excludes or expels someone from membership or otherwise discriminates against a member because they have not received the vaccine. Similarly, an employment agency commits an unlawful employment practice if the agency: (i) classifies or refers for employment, (ii) fails or refuses to refer for employment, or (iii) otherwise discriminates against an individual because the individual has not received the vaccine. 

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Utah

(Pending Legislation): House Bill 308, currently under consideration by the Senate, would prohibit governmental entities from requiring an individual to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. A governmental entity includes an executive agency, the legislative branch, the judicial branch, the State Board of Education, the Utah Board of Higher Education, an institution of higher education and a political subdivision of the state (including a school district). Such entities may not make receipt of the vaccine a condition of employment, participation in activities of the entity, or attendance at events that are hosted or sponsored by the entity. This prohibition does not apply to an employee of an entity who is: (i) acting in a public health or medical setting, and (ii) required to receive vaccinations in order to perform his or her assigned duties and responsibilities.

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Vermont

At this time, Vermont has no relevant pending legislation.

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Virginia

(Pending Legislation): Under existing law, the State Health Commissioner may require immediate immunization of all persons in case of an epidemic of any disease of public health importance for which a vaccine exists. Currently, there is a medical exception for someone whose health would be detrimentally affected by the administration of a vaccine. House Bill No. 2268, and similar Senate Bill No. 1116, would provide for a religious exemption to the required immunization if the person objects on the grounds that the administration of the vaccine conflicts with his or her religious beliefs. The Senate Bill was voted down in Committee, but the House Bill is still tabled by the House Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions.

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Washington

(Pending Legislation):

House Bill 1305 would prohibit employers from requiring employees to get a COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment. The Bill was referred to the Health Care & Wellness Committee on January 19, 2021.

Senate Bill 5144 would prohibit a state agency from requiring a COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment. The Bill would also prohibit employers, schools, universities, transportation providers, or any place of public resort, accommodation, assemblage or amusement from directly or indirectly requiring employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. This Bill was referred to the Health & Long Term Care Committee on January 12, 2021.

House Bill 1065 would prohibit public and private employers from requiring the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment, unless the vaccine meets certain standards including, but not limited to, licensed for use by the FDA, has undergone various testing regarding long-term effects and is proven to prevent person-to-person transmission of COVID-19. The Bill would also prohibit employers from requiring the COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment, where an employee has a medical, philosophical or religious objection to the vaccine. This Bill was referred to the Health Care & Wellness Committee on January 11, 2021.

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West Virginia

(Pending Legislation): House Bill 4114 prohibits healthcare workers or healthcare facilities from discriminating against a patient solely on the basis that the patient has chosen to delay or decline vaccination. A penalty of $1,000 will be levied for first violation and for a second violation the license of the healthcare practitioner or healthcare facility may be revoked or suspended. On January 13, 2020, the Bill was referred to the Committee on Health and Human Resources then to the Judiciary Committee.

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Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s relevant pending legislation was vetoed by the governor.

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Wyoming

(Pending Legislation):

HJ0016, a COVID-19 vaccine bill of rights, would protect Wyoming residents against the “unconstitutionally and medically irresponsible COVID-19 vaccine mandates.” The Bill prohibits Wyoming private businesses from requiring, mandating or coercing medication or experimental medication. Further, the Bill would require that individuals be informed of the option to accept or refuse the vaccine. Additionally, under the Bill: (i) no person could be mandated, coerced, forced or pressured to take an “experimental or investigational medication,” (ii) no physician or nurse could be asked by their employer to promote a COVID-19 vaccine, and (iii) all persons must be given information regarding the risks associated with the vaccine to help them decide if it is in their own best medical interest. The Bill was assigned a number on March 3, 2021.

SF0094 would prohibit governmental entities and public employees from forcing, requiring or coercing immunizations or vaccinations for COVID-19 or influenza. The Bill was introduced and referred to committee on March 1, 2021.

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Contact us

If you have questions about COVID-19 and business liability in your state contact Lowell Pearson, Jenna Brofsky, Natalie Holden, Reagan Kays, Zaina Niles or your Husch Blackwell attorney.

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