RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Twenty-four Republican state attorneys general said it’s up to the states to decide whether companies should be forced to tell employees they have to get a COVID-19 vaccine or get tested.
“What a complicated matter. It’s like the Lawyer Relief Act, probably more lawyers out there scrambling than ever before on this issue, which is really a 10th Amendment (issue). Is it a state right or federal right to do this?” said attorney Don Vaughan, who also teaches at Wake Forest School of Law.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.10 Amendment
But President Joe Biden’s team argues that the 1970 Occupational Safety and Health Act does give the federal government the right as the mandate protects employees from grave danger.
“Now what the heck does grave danger mean? Well, I think it means this kind of situation when people are dying right and left. I’ve had friends die in the past couple of months. It’s a grave danger situation and the president ought to have power under OSHA to that,” Vaughan said.
North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein is not suing. Workers in the state have little choice if a company decides that employees must be vaccinated. North Carolina is a right-to-work state. Employers can fire at will, for good reason or not. That does not apply to some contractual employees. Employers cannot fire someone based on religion, sex, or other categories that violate federal and state employment statutes prohibiting discrimination or retaliation.
Vaughan said employers that just don’t want to deal with it are already finding ways to avoid the mandate.
“They have 90 some employees, they need to find 10 or 15 more employees, but until this is resolved they’re not going to hire over that 100 limit.”
Companies with 100 or more employees face a Jan. 4 deadline. But that date is looking more and more like a moving target.
“The attorney generals seem to have a good argument. The president seems to have a good argument. It may end up being the Supreme Court’s ultimate decision of what to do on this,” Vaughn said.