Florida Legislature 2022 – Part IV
Issues to be discussed...
This email will continue a series about what can be prioritized in the 2022 Florida legislative session. Our prior posts are available on SubStack.
The key is to get pressure on these key issues. Representatives and Senators may attempt to avoid these issues by claiming it’s too late for new bills be filed. These issues can be handled by committees who can create new bills. Or these issues can be amended into existing bills.
Key issue 4: Exemptions Vs. Anti-Discrimination
There are at least two ways to make sure employees are protected from vaccine mandates: exemptions or anti-discrimination.
The two are somewhat different in how they are created and executed.
In November, 2021 the Florida legislature decided to have Florida law require exemptions when vaccines were mandated by an employer.
Now there will be legal fights over federal exemptions vs. state exemptions for vaccine mandates and I expect to see those lawsuits soon. Essentially I expect the federal government would claim it sets the exemptions, not the state.
The other issue with the exemption system is, at least on it’s face, the November, 2021 law doesn’t state that you can’t discriminate against the unvaccinated. And that’s a position many employers have taken - that they can treat the unvaccinated differently.
The other way to have handled this would be with anti-discrimination laws.
The State of Florida already has anti-discrimination language in Florida Statute 760 already prohibits discrimination based on “race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status”.
The statute could easily be amended to add “medical choice” such as taking a vaccine or not as a protected category.
This would not only protect the jobs of the unvaccinated but it would also prevent the unvaccinated from being treated as second class citizens or differently than others.
As an added benefit courts have often given credit to state anti-discrimination statutes which may be more defensible than exemptions. While the federal government has attempted to set the exemption for their vaccine mandates in their various administrative actions they’ve been silent on discrimination.
So a big thing the legislature could do is pass an anti-discrimination statute based on vaccine status.
Stay tuned. We’ll have some upcoming posts on being a more effective advocate.
See you soon!
NOTE: While legal issues are discussed this is education and is not legal advice. It is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. Please consult your own attorney on your situation and to get legal advice about your circumstances. Courts are unpredictable may disagree with the author’s opinions.
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