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AIM opposes government intervention in workplace vaccination decisions

March 23, 2022- Associated Industries of Missouri (AIM) testified today in opposition to both House Bill 1686 and House Bill 2358. Both bills deal with Covid-19 vaccine mandates within the workplace.

House Bill 1686 sponsored by Representative Bill Hardwick states that no public entity or person as described in the bill may require for employment a COVID-19 vaccination or otherwise condition any action, benefit, consequence, service, enrollment, or other thing of value on a person's COVID-19

vaccination status.

Under the bill, an employee would be exempt from an employer's requirement to receive a vaccination, and free from adverse action by the employer, if the employee claims a religious objection provided in writing, or has received a recommendation from a licensed physician not to receive the vaccination.

House Bill 2358 sponsored by Representative David Evans requires an employer, unless clear and convincing evidence proves it would cause undue hardship to the employer, to make reasonable accommodations from a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for an employee if the employee requests one based on certain sincerely held beliefs.

Additionally, when a COVID-19 vaccination is required or mandated by an employer as a condition of employment, any injury, disability, or death resulting from the vaccine is considered an occupational disease and is compensable under workers' compensation if the vaccine was any factor in causing the injury, disability, or death, according to the bill.

"Employers object to the government interfering with employers' ability to require vaccines of employees if they choose to do so," said Ray McCarty, president and CEO of AIM. "While most employers are not requiring vaccines and are simply trying to find any employees at all to fill available jobs, we believe employers should make that choice, not the government."

The committee took no action during the hearing.


The subject was also discussed for hours on the Senate floor today and the discussion continues at press time. Sen. Bill Eigel proposed an amendment to SB 758, a public bid bill, that would prevent all government contracts with any employer that enforces a vaccine mandate. Sen. Karla Eslinger offered a substitute amendment that would prohibit contracts with businesses that do not recognize a medical or religious exemption for employees. Sen. Eigel withdrew his original amendment, which also took away Sen. Eslinger's amendment, then offered a new amendment that allows a cause of action against any employer requiring a vaccination of employees. Under Eigel's amendment, companies could face damages including, but not limited to, economic, noneconomic, punitive damages, three times back pay plus fringe benefits and, of course, court costs and attorney's fees.


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