Florida portal helps workers file complaints against vaccine mandate ban violators

Florida portal helps workers file complaints against vaccine mandate ban violators

December 9, 2021 0 By Bethany Blankley

Florida employees who want to file a complaint against their employer over vaccine mandates have a new online complaint form to do so.

The “Private Employer Vaccination Mandate Complaint” form, published by the state the Attorney General’s Office, enables employees to file a complaint against their employers based on whether they were offered five exemptions mandated by the state.

A new Florida law requires private sector employers to offer and accept any of five exemptions, including for those with deeply held religious beliefs, medical and health related issues, those having natural immunity or who are willing to comply with periodic testing or using company-owned personal protective equipment.

Employers that don’t comply face a $5,000 fine per violation.

In addition to the new online form for employees, the Florida Department of Legal Affairs also issued an emergency rule and other guidance for employers. The law applies to all private employers regardless of size. It became effective when it was signed into law on Nov. 19 and remains effective until June 1, 2023, unless it’s extended.

When Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the bill into law, he said, “… if you look at what we’re doing today, Florida is leading. This is the strongest piece of legislation that’s been enacted anywhere in the country in this regard… ” He also described the law as “something that is going to make a big, big difference for an awful lot of people.”

“We are respecting people’s individual freedom in this state,” he added.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, who has sued the Biden administration over vaccine mandates and other issues such as illegal immigration, noted that there are now nationwide injunctions on all three of President Joe Biden’s “unlawful vaccine mandates – including the most recent order out of the Southern District of Georgia pertaining to federal contractors.”

She also said Florida was fighting to protect its healthcare system “from the damage that will be caused as a result of the unlawful CMS vaccine mandate,” which primarily impacts employees working at health care facilities, including independent contractors, part-time workers and vendors.

Since the online private employer complaint form was made live, complaints about employers are coming in, Lauren Cassedy, a spokesperson for the AG’s office, said.

And the federal court injunction against the Biden health care worker vaccine mandate already resulted in one of Florida’s largest hospital systems ending its mandate.

As of Dec. 2, AdventHealth no longer requires its 83,000 employees to receive the COVID-19 shots as a condition for employment “due to the recent decisions by the federal courts to block the CMS vaccine mandate.”

Its chief clinical officer, Dr. Neil Finkler, said the hospital system suspended both its vaccination requirement and its exemption process, meaning employees who don’t want to get the shots don’t have to submit an exemption request.

AdventHealth is still requiring its staff to declare their COVID-19 vaccination status with its medical staff office. In a letter to employees, Finkler wrote, “While you are not required to receive the vaccine or to apply for an exemption, medical staff members must report their current vaccination status.”

DeSantis’ office said in response, “We welcome AdventHealth’s decision to comply with state law to protect Floridians’ jobs and to ensure our state’s healthcare system can continue functioning smoothly.”

Meanwhile, some Florida doctors who refused to comply with the federal vaccine mandate and lost their jobs before the court injunctions have since been reinstated. DeSantis mentioned one, whose employer hasn’t been made public, who attended the bill signing banning vaccine mandates.

DeSantis tweeted a picture of the Florida doctor saying “he was suspended from his job due to Biden’s mandate. He has now been reinstated due to our efforts to stop this heavy-handed federal mandate,” DeSantis wrote, declaring that “Freedom has a home here in Florida.”

This article was originally posted on Florida portal helps workers file complaints against vaccine mandate ban violators