Missouri House advances bills allowing exceptions to employer vaccine mandates
February 7, 2022 - Two bills that would allow employers to mandate vaccinations but require employers to recognize certain exceptions to any such mandate advanced today from the House Rules - Administrative Oversight Committee chaired by Rep. J. Eggleston.
HCS HB 1686 (Hardwick) was approved by a vote of 10-2. The bill would exempt employees from a vaccination mandate if:
The employee holds a sincerely held religious belief against the vaccine and the reasonable accommodation of such belief would not pose an undue hardship on the employer; or
The employee has received a recommendation from a doctor advising not to take the vaccine.
An employee "whose rights are violated" and who would otherwise be eligible for workers' compensation would be eligible to receive workers' compensation to address any injuries sustained as a result of the employers vaccination requirement.
HCS HB 2358 and 1485 (Evans) was approved by a vote of 11-2. The bill:
Amends the Missouri Human Rights Act by establishing an unlawful employment practice if an employee requests a reasonable accommodation based on sincerely held theistic or atheistic religious beliefs and the employer fails to make such accommodation, unless making the accommodation would both cause an undue hardship on the employer and be a direct threat to other employees, customers, clients, patients, or the general public;
States when a vaccination is required by an employer, any injury, disability or death resulting from the vaccination is considered an "occupational disease" compensable under workers' compensation if the vaccination was any factor in causing the medical condition, disability or death; and,
Redefines "misconduct" to specifically exclude failure to take a vaccine based on sincerely held religious, moral, or conscientious beliefs and providing that termination from employment for failure to take the vaccine does not disqualify an employee from receiving unemployment compensation.
Associated Industries of Missouri opposes vaccine mandates and legislation that prevents an employer from having vaccination requirements if the employer has made the decision to require vaccinations.
These House bills will now be placed on the calendar for debate by the full Missouri House of Representatives. A Missouri Senate committee plans to hear four similar bills later this week on the same subject.