It is legal for an employer to mandate that its employees get vaccinated… at least that’s what Texas Federal Judge Lynn N. Hughes ruled. The Reagan appointee issued a blistering opinion dismissing a lawsuit filed by hospital workers objecting to their employer’s vaccination mandate.
A copy of the decision can be found here. It is only 5 pages, and it is well worth a read! Some of the main takeaways are:
- The employees misconstrue the Emergency Use Authorization Act. Specifically, the court held that Federal law authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services to introduce into commerce medical products intended for use in an emergency. In so doing, the Secretary is required to ensure that recipients understand the potential benefits and risks associated with use. This has nothing to do with private employers and their policies.
- The employees compared the employer vaccination policy to forced medical experimentation during the Holocaust. That did not sit well with this judge who correctly called the comparison “reprehensible.”
- The employer’s mandatory vaccination is not coercive since the employees are free to decline vaccination, they will just have to suffer the consequences of their decision.
Here’s the bottom line: Employers are free to mandate vaccination for workers. As with any other employer policy, if a worker does not agree, they can decline to abide by the policy. That decision, however, has consequences which may include discipline up to and including termination. As the judge notes in his decision “[t]hat is all part of the bargain.”