Bill Description: S1223 prohibits employers from discriminating against employees who choose not to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.
Analyst Note: S1223 is one of several pieces of legislation introduced during the November meeting of the 2021 session to address the issue of vaccine mandates in Idaho.
Does it violate the spirit or the letter of either the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? Examples include restrictions on speech, public assembly, the press, privacy, private property, or firearms. Conversely, does it restore or uphold the protections guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution?
S1223 creates Section 39-9003A, Idaho Code, to prohibit employers from discriminating against employees who choose not to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. The language states affirmatively that an "employee shall have the freedom to decline a COVID-19 vaccination pursuant to this chapter."
Problematically, the protection of this freedom is limited by requiring only that an employer provide "reasonable accommodation" to an employee who declines a COVID-19 vaccination "unless doing so would cause an undue hardship."
Additionally, the new language says "reasonable accommodation" may include "policies requiring the use of personal protective equipment, COVID-19 testing, and COVID-19 antibody testing, all of which may be the financial obligation of an employee."
While it is positive to recognize that declining a vaccine is a matter of personal freedom, this bill does nothing to protect the privacy and personal medical information of individuals. Instead, it explicitly endorses the use of mask mandates and coerced testing by employers, thereby implicitly endorsing the notion that employers have the right to engage in intrusive forms of monitoring their employees' health and personal health choices.
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