PPA Announcement Regarding Mandatory Vaccination
Dear PPA Members,
As your labor organization, one of the PPA’s first responsibility is to protect your working conditions and to make all reasonable efforts to ensure they are fair and legal. Today, with the Mayor’s announcement requiring mandatory vaccinations for all City workers, please know our attorneys were consulted and what we learned, we want to pass on to you. In part, they tell us:
- Can a public employer mandate that employees get vaccinated? Yes, federal law allows for mandatory vaccinations and federal law allows for COVID-19 testing in the workplace.
- Don’t employees have a constitutional right to refuse COVID-19 vaccination? No. The Supreme Court of the United States has upheld compulsory vaccination laws.
- If an employer has a mandatory vaccination program, must it provide reasonable accommodations to employees on religious or disability grounds? Yes, if you meet certain legal thresholds for establishing a religious belief or disability. Simply stating “my religious beliefs” or “my medical condition” does not give you a pass from being vaccinated and is insufficient under the law. Contact Linda at the PPA to arrange a consultation with an attorney if you believe you are in need of a reasonable accommodation.
- The vaccines have only emergency use approval from the FDA. Aren’t there FDA statutes on emergency approval that forbid mandatory vaccination programs in the workplace? No. A recent federal court decision indicates that the emergency use status of COVID-19 vaccinations under FDA statutes does not preclude mandatory vaccination programs at work.
- Am I covered under worker’s compensation if I have an adverse reaction to the vaccine and/or develop a condition as a result of the vaccine? Yes, to both, and so long as the reaction and/or condition can be tied to the vaccine by a physician.
- Doesn’t this fall under collective bargaining? No, under the Charter, the vaccine (health and safety) is a permissive not mandatory subject of bargaining.
We respect your right to any decisions you make and encourage you to speak with our PPA attorneys to better understand what is currently at play.
For some, this is difficult, and be assured we have been and will continue to work with the Mayor to solve this as quickly as possible and are optimistic a solution will be available before September 30. We will, of course, keep you continually updated.