Sunday, May 30, 2021

When Your Job's On The Line Will You Submit To The Jab?

WaPo  |  At stake in this latest contest is whether hospitals, law enforcement agencies and others can require employees to take a vaccine that was made available in an expedited process permitted during a public health emergency — and, likewise, whether schools may require the shots for students, faculty and staff members in the same way many require familiar vaccines for measles and chickenpox. There is little case law on the matter, with only one vaccine, for anthrax exposure, previously cleared in a similar way.

Employers are expected to cite the expansive evidence supporting the safety and efficacy of the coronavirus vaccines, as well as the extraordinary health risks created by the current emergency, said Kerry A. Scanlon, a former Department of Justice official who oversees labor and employment litigation at Chicago-based law firm McDermott Will & Emery.

Scanlon believes employers are in a strong position to defend compulsory vaccination, but he said many might shy away from it simply to avoid costly litigation.

ICAN is already claiming victory, thanks to the work of a legal team led by Siri & Glimstad’s managing partner, Aaron Siri. “Employers and schools that previously required the covid-19 vaccine have dropped those requirements,” the group declares in its ad on the Children’s Health Defense blog. “This includes an employer that did so on the heels of ICAN’s legal team challenging its mandate in court.”

Neither Siri nor his co-counsel in the North Carolina case, Elizabeth A. Brehm, responded to emailed questions. Bigtree did not respond to telephone messages. Kennedy said his organization is “working with firms all over the country” to challenge vaccine mandates and estimated that he receives “many hundreds” of inquiries each week about potential litigation.

In legal filings and letters to employers and universities, attorneys from Siri & Glimstad focus on the expedited process known as an emergency use authorization used to clear the shots during a public health emergency. Mandating a vaccine cleared that way, they argue in a complaint filed against the Durham County Sheriff’s Department, is “illegal and unenforceable.”

Their arguments go further. Pointing to the principle of informed consent, a tenet of medical ethics addressing human experimentation enshrined in the Nuremberg Code after World War II, their letter to the president of Rutgers University contends a mandate under these circumstances violates not just federal law, but also “international laws, civil and individual rights, and public policy.” Failure to rescind a requirement in Rock County, Wis., the firm informed officials there, “will result in legal action being filed against you.”

“Govern yourself accordingly,” the Feb. 2 letter advised.

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