March 30, 2022 - The Senate Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy and the Environment today approved moving two House bills to the Senate floor that would establish rules employers must follow if they require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Associated Industries of Missouri opposes these types of bills because each employer should make their own decision as to whether vaccination of employees should be required.
HB 1686 (Hardwick) provides public bodies may not require an employee to take a COVID-19 vaccination and private employers must provide an exemption from any such requirement if the employee registers a religious objection or has received a doctor's advice to not receive the vaccination.
HCS HBs 2358 & 1485 (Evans) would require any employer to make reasonable accommodations from a COVID-19 vaccination mandate if the employee objects to the vaccination due to sincerely held beliefs, including theistic and atheistic religious beliefs. The bill states that if a required COVID-19 vaccination is any factor in any injury, disability or death of an employee, such injury, disability or death will be considered an "occupational disease" for purposes of the workers' compensation law. The bill also would allow unemployment benefits to employees that are dismissed because they refuse vaccination if the employee is otherwise eligible for unemployment benefits.
Both bills were approved by the Committee on a 5-2 vote. They will now advance to a calendar in the Senate.