Healthcare workers seek legal advice on vaccine mandate
With the state requiring COVID-19 injections for all healthcare workers, law firms are receiving a flood of calls from potential clients, who are asking what they can do to challenge the warrant.
“I’m not even sure I can quantify it, but I can think of at least one lawyer in this room who does at least five consultations a day, and that’s just one lawyer.” So that’s definitely a lot, ”said labor and employment lawyer Melanie Franco of Tully Rinckey.
The Albany-based company provides advice to people looking to navigate mandates through religious or medical expeditions.
Franco says it’s hard to complain about this. She says it is difficult to plead unconstitutionality, but there could be a potential for a discrimination lawsuit.
“It depends on why they didn’t get the vaccine,” Franco said. “If they can point to a religious exemption or medical accommodation that should have been granted in place of the vaccine, then they might have grounds to file a complaint with the Human Rights Division for discrimination.”
She says the state’s mandate for healthcare workers is not totally unconstitutional because work is a choice.
“The warrant itself has no unconstitutional issues that I have seen. The problem, especially for healthcare workers, is whether or not it is acceptable to remove the possibility of obtaining a religious exemption, ”Franco said.
She says it can be difficult to get a religious exemption if you haven’t done so for other vaccines.
In addition, there is currently a complaint filed against the removal of the religious exemption.
“And depending on the decision made, if they find it acceptable to remove the religious exemption, I might see people taking action on it, although there is precedent to show that it is acceptable to remove it, “said Franco.
Regarding medical exemptions, Franco says it has been difficult because there haven’t been many cases where doctors have advised against getting the shot.