GOP lawmaker says workers should be able to sue employers over vaccines
But just last year, Republican Rep. Warren Davidson pushed for to protect companies that failed to take basic COVID-19 safety precautions.
Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH) wants to make a business legally liable if an employee is harmed by getting a COVID-19 vaccination mandated by that business. But just last year, he pushed to exempt businesses from legal liability for workplace conditions that allowed their employees to fall sick with COVID-19.
“I oppose mandates, but businesses who mandate vaccines should have liability for their workplace safety rules,” Davidson tweeted on Thursday. “Any other workplace safety practice would result in liability for the employer if following it resulted in harm to employees.”
In August, he urged state and federal officials to “make it clear that mandating a vaccine likely subjects those who impose the mandate to liability.”
He is not the only GOP lawmaker using this tactic to discourage businesses from taking this safety measure. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia wrote on Tuesday: “There are many vaccine injuries and deaths being reported with the covid vaccines. Anyone and any organization mandating vaccines that may be causing death or damage to people’s health put themselves at risk/liability of lawsuits and/or legal consequences. #NoMandates.”
Data shows that vaccine mandates are an effective way of encouraging people to get immunized and that the vaccines are safe and effective. Numerous studies have shown the risks associated with the vaccine are minimal and much lower than the risks associated with getting COVID-19 without one.
But while Davidson now wants to hold businesses liable if they protect their workers, a year ago he pushed for special legislation to limit their liability if they caused their workers to get sick.
Congressional Republicans pushed throughout 2020 to pass legislation that would make it nearly impossible to sue a business if its failure to take basic steps to keep workers and customers safe resulted in COVID-19 illnesses. They said doing so would “lessen the burdens on interstate commerce by discouraging insubstantial lawsuits relating to COVID–19.”
Experts said it would make an already difficult thing to prove in court virtually impossible, leaving workers with little recourse even if their employer ignored public safety guidance.
Davidson put out a statement last June opposing the HEROES Act, complaining that the House Democrats’ pandemic relief legislation package “does nothing to address liability concerns for businesses and organizations—something the economy needs in order to reopen with confidence.”
Then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unsuccessfully tried to make liability protections for businesses a “red line” that would have to be included in any pandemic relief bills, even after stories emerged of meatpacking supervisors placing bets on how many of their workers would become infected, but ultimately caved when Democrats refused to go along.
Davidson has also pushed unproven claims that “natural immunity” makes vaccination unnecessary and introduced legislation to ban “dystopian” vaccine passports and hold businesses legally liable for discrimination if they refuse to allow customers in without proof of inoculation.
“Discrimination that separates healthy people from other healthy people based on vaccine status is unconstitutional. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen states deny Americans a republican form of government in the name of public health. Now that the pandemic is over, they are trying to maintain power,” he wrote in June.
His home state of Ohio is seeing an average of more than 5,000 new cases each day, four months after he declared the pandemic a thing of the past.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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