U.S. Court Rules in Favor of Private Company’s Vaccine Mandate
COVINGTON, Ky.—September 30, 2021—A recent ruling out of Kentucky has set a precedent for private companies to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for their employees as a condition of employment. St. Elizabeth Healthcare, a private healthcare provider outside of Cincinnati, Ohio, required its employees to be vaccinated by October 1 or risk losing their jobs. Reuters reports that the employees challenged the vaccine mandate in court, but U.S. District Judge David Bunning in Covington, Kentucky ruled that St. Elizabeth has the right to set the terms of employment and the mandate does not violate employees’ liberties.
In his ruling, Bunning wrote, “If an employee believes his or her individual liberties are more important than legally permissible conditions on his or her employment, that employee can and should choose to exercise another individual liberty, no less significant – the right to seek other employment,” according to Reuters. This is the first ruling in a vaccine mandate case brought against a private company, which is significant as numerous private employers have begun to impose vaccines requirements with firm deadlines, including major employers like Facebook, Microsoft, United Airlines, and others, according to Reuters.
Mandates are also in effect for numerous public institutions around the country, including some public schools and healthcare facilities. The Biden administration plans to require all federal contractors to be vaccinated, a move that will impact tens of millions of workers. Reuters reports that such mandates in the public and private sectors have generated numerous lawsuits, most of which are still in the early stages. According to their lawyer, the employees of St. Elizabeth are currently evaluating their next steps.