VACCINATION STATUS AND UNEMPLOYMENT
A number of states have determined that when an individual loses a job because the employer is demanding a medical procedure in order to remain employed, the former worker should not lose their right to unemployment payments.
Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, and Tennessee all allow unemployment insurance coverage for these individuals, and a number of other states are considering it.
Ineligible for unemployment benefits?
Workers fired for cause are ineligible for unemployment benefits. It seems like quite a stretch to say that refusing to submit oneself to the medical judgment of one’s employer–and consequent medical procedures favored by that employer–over the judgment and self-interest of the individual him/herself, as a condition of employment, is cause. Yet many are making that argument.
Utah should not be one of them.
Special legislative session
In the last special legislative session, the Utah Legislature passed SB 2004, which allows for personal exemptions to employer vaccine mandates. These exemptions don’t require approval from the employer, but are simply a declaration by the individual.
This will cover most cases where an employee isn’t comfortable with the employer directing his/her medical care, but if courts end up upholding the federal mandate on all employees of all businesses with any kind of federal contract, many of those workers could lose their jobs.
In a just and fair world, the kind we consistently strive for here in Utah, those employees would have access to unemployment insurance.