CDC be damned! We’ve got what appears to be our first lawsuit related to a workplace vaccination mandate..
On February 28, an employee at a New Mexico detention center has sued his employer, which supposedly now requires that all first responders receive the COVID-19 vaccination, absent a reasonable accommodation.
The plaintiff does not allege that he is disabled or has a religious objection. Instead, he claims that his employer cannot force him to receive a vaccine that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved for emergency use only. Specifically, it allegedly failed to advise him of the “known and potential benefits and risks of such use, and of the extent to which such benefits and risks are unknown” of the COVID-19 vaccine. Also, the employer supposedly never informed the plaintiff that he had an option to refuse the vaccine.
Well, no duh! It’s mandatory.
But is that illegal?
Putting aside whether private employers should mandate employee vaccinations, the general consensus is that they can. The EEOC seems to agree; although, in its guidance, the EEOC notes that the FDA bears responsibility for keeping people informed about the pros and cons of emergency-use vaccinations.
But the plaintiff is suing a public employer.
Look, I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, and I don’t wear a black robe and bang a gavel. But I do know that the court has since delayed the plaintiff’s request for a temporary restraining order.
I’ll update you when the court decides the matter on the merits.