Last Friday, partner and employment attorney at The Noble Law, Katie Abernethy, appeared on WRAL to discuss President Biden’s recent call for vaccine mandates.
Gerald Owens: When President Biden mentioned protecting those around you he was also talking about your community and your coworkers. Good evening and thank you for staying with us tonight, I’m Gerald Owens.
Debra Morgan: And I’m Debra Morgan. That is why the President is asking most employers to require their workforce to be vaccinated or get regular testing. WRAL’s Chris Lovingood is live in Raleigh with reaction tonight, and, Chris, you talked to some legal experts about this, what’s their take?
Chris Lovingood: Well, Debra and Gerald, I talked to two different lawyers today about this, and the first said that he thinks it’s the way that President Biden is approaching this; that is how he is managing to pull this off; thus, making it enforceable. And, the other lawyer said that she believes this will all likely be challenged in court.
President Biden: We’re going to protect vaccinated workers from unvaccinated coworkers.
Lovingood: President Biden made it clear: he was more people vaccinated, and he’s targeting the workplace. To pull this off, he’s leaning on the Occupational Safety and Heath Administration, OSHA.
Daniel Meier: The states have what’s called police powers, not law enforcement, but the ability to regulate the health and safety of their citizens. That’s why the states can require mandates and stuff. The federal government does not have police powers like that.
Lovingood: That’s where OSHA comes in, as it creates a rule to require employers with more than 100 employees to require their staff be vaccinated or require unvaccinated employees present a negative COVID-19 test.
Meier: Unless the federal government is going to fund it, for the first time we’re starting to mandate employers give people time off.
Lovingood: But others argue legitimacy of mandating this part of someone’s life.
Bihman Dorafshar: If they will only endanger their own lives, by all means, but they are putting the whole society in danger.
Lovingood: One employment law attorney I talked to said Biden’s announcement will get pushed back.
Katie Abernethy: I’m sure that there will be a court challenge filed as a result of this particular executive order, but, you know, we don’t have any case law that gives us any guidance about what courts are going to do.
Lovingood: And, Debra and Gerald, just a little reminder for our viewers, there are already employers who are requiring their staff be vaccinated for COVID-19, even before the President’s announcement. Take, for example, Duke University. The university is requiring its staff be vaccinated by October 1st, and if they don’t reach that deadline, they could be fired and not rehired by the university in the future.
Morgan: A lot of these conversations happening right now in companies across our area. Chris Lovingood, live in Raleigh, thank you, Chris.