ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — President Joe Biden is appealing to nearly 100 million unvaccinated Americans to go and get their COVID vaccines, and help reduce the number of new positive cases. Thursday, he announced a series of new vaccine mandates targeting employees.
Biden said his plan will not only help increase testing but also protect the economy as COVID positivity rates continue to climb.
As the delta variant continues to spread killing thousands of Americans each week, President Biden has come up with a new plan. He said the Department of Labor is developing a new rule requiring all employers with more than 100 employees to ensure that they’re either all fully vaccinated, or show a negative COVID-19 test at least once a week.
“The bottom line we’re going to protect vaccinated workers from unvaccinated co-workers,” the President said.
Biden’s administration already requires vaccinations of all nursing home workers who treat patients on both Medicare and Medicaid. Now he’s expanding that to anyone who works in hospitals, and all other medical care facilities. This totals roughly 17 million healthcare workers. He also signed an Executive Order requiring all federal workers, and contractors get vaccinated.
“If you want to work with the federal government, do business with us, get vaccinated. If you want to do business with the federal government, vaccinate your workforce,” Biden said.
Tully Rinckey Criminal Defense Attorney Peter Pullano said these mandates typically get court approval before becoming law. He gave us some insight on how he would council an employer following this mandate announcement.
“Let’s balance this. You’ve got this federal mandate. You want to be in compliance. You don’t want to be you know subject to prosecution, but you also don’t want to invite a lawsuit because you haven’t considered accommodations, and you’ve gone in whole hog in one direction,” Pullano said.
He says the president’s mandates still face challenges from the unvaccinated.
“The biggest one is being either health or religious grounds, and before you make the next step, and insist that the employee be vaccinated against their, at some point against their will. Consider reasonable accommodations. Consider ways you might want to be able to get to the same place without forcing something,” Pullano said.
L3Harris Technologies released this statement following Biden’s announcement saying, “We’re reviewing the administration’s new mandate to fully understand what it means for our U.S. workforce. Once that review is complete, we’ll determine necessary changes and modify our policies accordingly to comply. We’ve applied many layers of safety at our facilities and will continue to strongly encourage all employees to vaccinate as soon as possible.”