What is the vaccine mandate?
- In September 2021, President Biden issued an executive order requiring federal employees and contractors to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (the Coronavirus).
- In November 2021, President Biden issued two additional executive orders regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine mandates that are were reviewed by the Supreme Court.
- The first requires employers with 100+ employees to mandate vaccines (or weekly testing for those who do not want to be vaccinated).
- The second requires that healthcare facilities which receive federal funding implement a similar vaccine policy.
- In January 2022, the Supreme Court struck down the first of the November 2021 rules. It held that it is unconstitutional to require employers to mandate vaccines and weekly testing.
So, what does all of this mean for me?
- If you are a federal employee, you must be fully vaccinated.
- If you are employed by a healthcare facility that receives funds through Medicare or Medicaid, you must be fully vaccinated or undergo weekly testing for COVID-19.
Can my employer mandate vaccines, testing, and masks if it chooses?
- Yes. The Supreme Court did not ban employers from choosing to require that employees be vaccinated or undergo testing. It only prevented the government from mandating that employers implement this policy.
- However, if your employer is a healthcare facility that receives federal funding (through Medicaid or Medicare), then it is still required to mandate vaccines and weekly testing.
My employer is a healthcare facility that receives federal funding and I think it is violating the vaccine mandate. Can I be punished for filing a complaint?
- No. Many statutes prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who report legal violations or participate in investigations of alleged violations.
- Employees can and should report violations of workplace safety laws, including federal and state OSHA regulations related to COVID-19.