Monday, September 27, 2021

Coronavirus Update 9-27-21: Repeat after me. “A vaccine mandate is not coercive.”

Today's post is for anyone who believes that a workplace vaccine mandate is coercive or deprives employees of their free choice not to get vaccinated.

A federal court recently upheld an employer's vaccine mandate for its employees. In and of itself that holding is not earth shattering or even particularly newsworthy. In fact, it's consistent with virtually every other case in history to rule on a vaccine mandate at work.

This case stands out to me not because of what it held, but because of what the judge said about the free choice employees still maintain on whether or not to get the Covid vaccine, despite their employer's mandate:
Courts have rationalized that each of us trade off our individual liberties every day in exchange for employment.… [T]o work at St. Elizabeth, Plaintiffs agree to wear a certain uniform, to arrive at work at a certain time, to leave work at a certain time, to park their vehicle in a certain spot, to sit at a certain desk and to work on certain tasks. They also agree to receive an influenza vaccine, which Defendants have required of their employees for the past five years. These are all conditions of employment, and every employment includes limits on the worker's behavior in exchange for his remuneration. If an employee believes his or her individual liberties are more important than legally permissible conditions on his or her employment, that employee can and should choose to exercise another individual liberty, no less significant – the right to seek other employment.

You can read a copy Judge David Bunning's decision here.

* Photo by Jackson Simmer on Unsplash