A group of Michigan state lawmakers, led by Rep. Sue Allor (R-Wolverine), have introduced a new bill prohibiting employers from imposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates, but some business owners opposed it.
The Informed Consent in the Workplace Act, offered by Allor and 16 other sponsors, would ban businesses from mandating their workers get vaccinations for the COVID-19, tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis.
The bill would also prohibit Michigan employers from imposing different rules, such as mask requirements for unvaccinated workers.
Rep. Allor said that she does not think that unvaccinated employees should be required to mask up.
“To look at an individual and say, ‘You don’t have the vaccine and put the mask on,’ that is more or less putting a scarlet letter on them, and that with this bill is saying they can’t do,” FOX 2 cited Allor as saying.
The lawmaker said that getting vaccinated should be up to an employee, not their job.
“They definitely should not lose their job. In many instances they’ve gone to school for years to achieve a certain degree, a certain level of knowledge to perform a job that they love,” she said.
According to Deborah Gordon, an employment attorney in Metro Detroit, the bill would change Michigan law by taking away an employer’s right to control health and safety in the office.
“The problem with this is the vast majority of employers I am aware of that are requiring vaccines or masks are doing it for one reason only—that’s to protect the other employees,” said Gordon said.
However, several businesses are pushing back the measure, WILX reported.
Kathie Valentine, owner of the Plant Professionals in DeWitt Township, said that she already had clients requesting her only to send vaccinated personnel.
“If I can’t encourage people to vaccinate … If I can’t use those vaccinated people where my clients need me to, it’s going to really harm my business,” said Valentine, who added that she does not require her employees to be vaccinated against the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus or COVID-19, but offers incentives.
Wendy Block from the Michigan Chamber of Commerce said, “These sorts of decisions, whether they are about vaccines or they are about COVID restrictions, or other things, should be made in the workplace between employers and employees.”
“Right now there are not that many employers across our great state that are mandating vaccines at this point. They’re not doing that because they are listening to their employees,” Block said.
Brad Williams, a vice president with the Detroit Regional Chamber, claimed that the bill goes against the free market and represents government overreach, Detroit Free Press reported.
“This represents the type of big government overreach many of the proponents of this legislation have long railed against and attempts to implement a one-size-fits-all solution for the thousands of businesses across the state,” Williams said.
“We’re not arguing for a vaccine mandate. We’re not arguing against a vaccine mandate. But we are arguing for vaccines, because it’s the only way out of the pandemic and the endless battles against variants,” he said.
The office of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer told FOX 2 that vaccines are the best way to slow the spread of COVID-19 but did not say if she would veto the bill.