Nine reasons why it’s unlikely that any court will overturn your employer’s mandatory vaccine policy.

Closeup of doctor's hands, vaccine, and arm (48546003607)

SELF Magazine, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Yesterday, I read two more decisions (here and here) from federal judges evaluating mandatory vaccination policies. Both involved attempts by plaintiffs to obtain a preliminary injunction to avoid getting the jab. One involved a student at a public university; the other involved many healthcare workers at a local hospital. Neither was successful — not even close.

Here are nine reasons the lawsuits failed and why future efforts will likely be just as unsuccessful.

  1. Although individuals have rights to informed consent and to refuse unwanted medical treatment, those rights are not absolute. Private sector employees have no constitutional rights (unless the employer is a state actor).
  2. Courts generally don’t second guess employers’ safety protocols, especially those grounded in medical and scientific evidence.
  3. Keeping the most people safe, given the severity and number of cases and deaths resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic (i.e., the public interest), outweighs individual liberty interests.
  4. Other states and countries have enacted similar mandatory vaccine policies, which help legitimize ones that employers adopt. Indeed, there is a public health rationale via the ongoing COVID-19 disease that upholds compulsory vaccination policies.
  5. There is no constitutional right to work. Employees can choose to comply with a condition of employment (e.g., a dress code, no smoking, mandatory vaccinations) or deal with the potential consequences of that choice.
  6. Suspicions about the efficacy and safety of COVID-19 vaccines cannot override the law, which recognizes the employer’s right to set the terms and conditions of employment.
  7. Most employment is at-will. If an individual believes that his liberties are that important, he can exercise his right to seek other employment.
  8. Money compensates those who endure wrongful discharge. Thus, an employee seeking an injunction can’t demonstrate irreparable harm, a prerequisite for an injunction.
  9. Forcing employers to create exceptions effectively requires them to adopt new policies and procedures to accommodate those who refuse the vaccine and could create an undue hardship.
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