Proposed Law Wants to Convert ‘Anti-Vaxxer’ Into a Protected Class

With a couple of important exceptions, an employer can require that employees be up to date on their vaccinations.

The exceptions?

1. An employee with an ADA disability that prevents him or her from receiving a vaccine may be entitled to an exemption from a mandatory vaccination requirement as a reasonable accommodation.

     2. An employee with a sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance that prevents him or her from receiving a vaccine may also be entitled to an exemption from a mandatory vaccination requirement as a reasonable accommodation.
A recently proposed Ohio looks to significantly expand these exceptions by elevating “unvaccinated” to the equivalent of a class protected from discrimination.

The misleadingly named Medical Consumer Protection Act would prohibit an Ohio employer from discharging without just cause, refusing to hire, or otherwise discriminating against any person on the basis that the person has not been or will not be vaccinated because of a medical contraindication or for reasons of conscience, including religious beliefs. It would also create a private cause of action allowing an employee to file suit over violations and seek compensatory and punitive damages.

I had a roommate in college who was fond of telling me that my opinion was wrong. I would tell him, “My opinion is my opinion. It might be misinformed. You might disagree with it. But it can’t be wrong.” It’s Hyman’s Law of Opinions. Today, I decree the following amendment to Hyman’s Law:

* … except in the case of vaccinations. If you oppose vaccinating yourself or your children, your opinion is wrong, period (unless you have a bona fide medical condition or religious belief that prevents you from receiving said vaccinations). Otherwise there’s no reason not to vaccinate. If you don’t care about your own health, care about the health of all of those around you, and the public health risks and costs you are helping create.

And if you happen to be an anti-vaxxer and take issue with Hyman’s First Law of Opinions (as amended), you’ve brought the measles back from extinction. Case closed.

So I give a big thumbs down to the Medical Consumer Protection Act. It’s both unnecessary (by protecting from employment discrimination those whom the law already protects) and wildly over broad (by also protecting those who are unvaccinated “for reasons of conscience”).

Thankfully, this poorly conceived piece of legislative policy will never become an actual law.

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