Houston Methodist, a hospital in Texas, faces a lawsuit of more than 100 people after telling employees they all need to be vaccinated by Monday. Dozens of staff gathered outside the Baytown Hospital System site on Monday, holding signs that read “Vaxx is Venom” and “Don’t lose sight of our rights” to protest the policy. Nearly 200 of the employees were suspended on Tuesday and the hospital said if they did not get vaccinated by June 21, it would initiate the process to terminate their employment.
There is some obscurity, as the rules vary from state to state.
In theory, federal law should trump state law, but the situation is tricky: recent guidelines serve primarily as a reminder that federal equal employment opportunity laws do not prohibit employers to require vaccines. But states have made their own way.
In South Carolina, for example, state agencies can encourage employees to be vaccinated, but they cannot require it. They also cannot require South Carolinians to provide proof of their immunization status as a condition of receiving government services or accessing government buildings, following an executive order from Gov. Henry McMaster, a Republican. .
Monday, Governor Greg Abbott of Texas, also a Republican, signed a law prohibiting businesses or state government entities from requiring digital proof of vaccination, joining states such as Arkansas and Florida. It is not clear whether the new law will affect the Houston Methodist mandate that employees must be vaccinated.
Which large companies have said they require vaccination of their employees?
Many companies encourage employees to get the jab rather than forcing them to do so. Target, for example, offers up to four hours of paid time off for employees to get vaccinated and covers cab rides to and from appointments. The Kroger supermarket chain is offering $ 100 to all associates who provide proof of vaccination. Salesforce, the software giant, will allow up to 100 fully immunized employees to volunteer to work together on designated floors in select U.S. offices.
Delta Air Lines said last month it would require new recruits to be vaccinated but exempt current recruits, becoming one of the first large companies to do so. United Airlines also said it would require new hires to provide proof of vaccination within a week of starting, but would make exceptions for people who have medical or religious reasons not to be vaccinated. It gives three additional days of vacation to flight attendants who received at least their first dose of vaccine on Wednesday.