Pending legislation would prohibit employers from taking action against unvaccinated workers.
Back in 2016, a study indicated that state laws mandating flu shots for healthcare workers contributes to higher vaccination rates. However, laws like one being considered in the Ohio legislature could muddy the waters for healthcare facilities and other employers in the state and beyond.
Ohio House bill 268 would prohibit employers from taking adverse action against unvaccinated workers. Specifically, the bill says that “no person should be subjected to an adverse employment action for refusing to be vaccinated against any illness or disease because of a medical contraindication or for reasons of conscience, including religious beliefs.” Additionally, it states, “No employer shall discharge without just cause, refuse to hire, or otherwise discriminate against any person with respect to hire, tenure, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, or any matter directly or indirectly related to employment, on the basis that the person has not been or will not be vaccinated against any illness or disease…” The bill would enable individuals to determine if they want a specific vaccination, wherever they work. The legislation is opposed by numerous groups, including the Ohio Hospital Association and the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.
In recent years, professional organizations such as AMDA—The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine have released recommendations regarding vaccinations. AMDA specifically recommends mandatory annual flu vaccines for anyone who comes into contact with PALTC residents, unless there is a medical condition preventing this; education for all healthcare personnel about the safety and efficacy of vaccines; masks for employees who don’t receive a flu shot and are in contact with residents during flu season; and providing free flu vaccines onsite.