By Donald Scarinci | January 30th, 2013 - 12:13pm
| More

This year’s flu season hit quick and hard. In fact, the outbreak is expected to be among the worst in a decade. Understandably, New Jersey employers want to take every precaution to keep their staff healthy and on the job. However, as a Rhode Island lawsuit highlights, requiring employees to get a flu shot can lead also lead to legal headaches.

Rhode Island is one of several states that require vaccinations for all health care workers. Under the state’s regulations, health care workers are required to get a flu shot during "any declared period in which the flu is widespread." Unless workers are medically exempted, those who refuse are required to wear a mask when directly treating patients. Health care workers who violate the regulations can also be fined $100 per violation and each such violation constitutes ''unprofessional conduct” with regard to their professional licenses.

Shortly after the regulations took effect, SEIU Healthcare Employees Union District 1199, a labor organization representing health care employees throughout Rhode Island, filed a lawsuit. The union points to the lack of scientific evidence that higher rates of vaccination of healthcare workers result in fewer cases of influenza among patients. It also argues that mask wearing compromises patient care by reducing the ability to communicate effectively.

Because these measure have not been shown to be effective, the SEIU argues that forcing them upon its members interferes with their right to pursue their profession in violation of the Due Process Clause. The union further maintains that the regulations conflict and interfere with health care workers' right to bargain with their employer pursuant to the National Labor Relations Act.

This is not the only lawsuit to come out of the recent flu outbreak. Across the country, private employers are also facing legal pushback after terminating employees who failed to comply with mandatory vaccination policies. For instance, an Ohio customer service representative filed a lawsuit after refusing to get a flu shot because she is vegan. A federal district judge recently refused to dismiss her claim of religious discrimination, finding that she “could subscribe to veganism with a sincerity equating that of traditional religious views.”

Due to the potential liability, employers are increasingly looking to other steps to combat the flu and promote a healthy work environment. Rather than mandating the flu vaccine, employers are strongly encouraging it, along with other steps such as encouraging employers to stay home when they are sick, promoting hand-washing, and regularly disinfecting work areas.

 

The Back Room

Armstead has to pay ELEC fine

Charged with a late filing going back to his 2011 local election, Linden Councilman Derek Armstead has to pay $1,550.80 in fines, according to the state Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC).

Read More >

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: October 1st

Bergen County Freeholder forum mostly convivial, but at times confrontational TEANECK - The Bergen County freeholder forum on Tuesday night was a relatively collegial affair until the final two minutes on the 90-minute event. Republican freeholder candidate Robert Avery, flanked by fellow GOP freeholder candidate Bernadette Coghlan-Walsh, referred to...

Op-Ed

Legislation needed for publicly financed gubernatorial elections

By JEFF BRINDLE It is critical that the Legislature soon enact a pending bill that would ensure the state’s Gubernatorial Public Financing Program is available in the event of a special election for governor.  Not only is there no current legal... Read More >

Contributors

(10-1-14) Mayor Fulop’s Working Family Rebellion Spreads - What began as a commitment between Mayor Steve Fulop and the people of Jersey City is fast becoming a movement spreading... more »
In tribute to John Sheridan, a good and great man     I first learned late last night from television news that John P. Sheridan, Jr. and his wife, Joyce had... more »
(Trenton, NJ) --  On September 23, 2015 I shall dig this up and eat whatever crow I've got coming, but in the meantime only a listicle... more »
 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

"I see Loretta Weinberg in the back of the room. Loretta, you have my eternal admiration for what you did to rid the Democratic Party of a certain political boss. However, not everyone shares that distinction." - Bergen County Republican Freeholder candidate Robert Avery

- PolitickerNJ

Poll

Which of these "Mount Rushmore of Corruption" states deserves the centerpiece?:

Blogroll

Visit the PolitickerNJ.com/resources page for links to the best collection of information on New Jersey state government.

 

  • Polls
  • The best blogs
  • Columnists
  • State election results
  • Assembly election results
  • Local party websites
  • And more.

PolitickerNJ.com/resources