LATEST: Will Illinois Employers Be Able To Fire Employees For Refusing Covid Vaccinations?
BREAKING: Illinois employers could very soon be allowed to fire employees who refuse to get vaccinated or comply with other covid-19 regulations.
The Health Care Right of Conscience Act amendment bans employees from using their moral beliefs as a reason to refuse to comply with a workplace’s covid mandates, which could include mandatory vaccinations.
The new amendment now heads to Gov. JB Pritzker to be signed into the law, and it certainly looks as if it will be, given his statement released Thursday night.
“We have effective tools to fight this pandemic — namely, vaccines, masks and testing — and all of our communities are safer when we use the public health and workplace safety protocols we know to work,” said Pritzker in a statement. “… This legislation clarifies existing law’s intent without infringing on federal protections. Ultimately, this means we can keep kids in school, businesses open, neighbors safe, and continue on the path to bring this pandemic to an end.”
If Pritkzer signs it, the new rules would be put into place starting June 1, 2022.
The Health Care Right of Conscience Act has actually been a law since 1998 and was driven by healthcare providers having moral objections to performing abortions. It was originally put into place to protect health care providers — doctors, nurses, etc. — from being forced to perform medical procedures such as abortions if they opted out due to moral objections.
Over the years, the parameters of the law have been stretched to include other procedures, and, in past two years, the law has been loosely applied to include moral objections to covid-19 mandates based on medical applications such as mandatory vaccinations and covid tests.
According to reports, Gov. Pritzker had been working behind-the-scenes to revise the law to allow employers greater leeway in disciplining employees who refuse to adhere to covid mandates in the workplace.
The amendment pursued by Pritkzer excludes objections to covid protocols.
Pritzker said “the act was “never intended to allow people to avoid public health guidance and jeopardize workplace safety during a global pandemic,” in a statement through his spokesperson. “The administration supports efforts to clarify the law, so it cannot be misinterpreted by fringe elements.”
The amendment comes in spite of covid numbers nationwide and statewide moving in a positive direction over the past month.
Covid numbers in Illinois have continued to slowly move downward over the past week, according to the latest numbers released today. This morning, Illinois public health officials reported 2,013 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and 26 related deaths. The statewide positivity rate likewise remained low over the past week, at 2.2 percent.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, statewide, Illinois has seen 1,690,274 total COVID cases, and 25,707 deaths.
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