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Employee attorney explains impact of workplace mandatory vaccinations

Posted at 7:02 PM, Nov 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-05 20:02:54-04

TULSA, Okla. — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced a temporary standard regarding mandated vaccinations in private sector workplaces with 100 plus employees.

Madalene Witterholt, employment attorney with Crow and Dunlevy, said there are several incentives that would prompt an employer to follow through with the temporary vaccination standard.

“The first thing is that the employer now has an absolute obligation for some very specific things related to the safety of their employees,” Witterholt said.

Witterholt said OSHA could at any time shutdown an employer that fails to comply with the temporary vaccination standard.

OSHA is designed to ensure the safety of workplace and its employees.
She said the responsibility to ensure workplace safety falls on both the employer and employee.

“The employees will have certain obligations as well in terms of truthful reporting to their employees for their circumstances," she said.

Witterholt said under the new OSHA policies employees are expected to report their true vaccination status to their employer. Employees are also responsible for telling their employers of any exposure to the virus, or if they have tested positive. If the employee tests positive and has not been vaccinated, they will have to quarantine until they test negative.

She said an employee's failure to report transparently to its employer could have serious consequences.

“The employee could face termination if they are not truthful because in my opinion, two things, one, it opens up the employer up to liability with the coworkers, as well as it’s a truthfulness issue. Can you trust this employer in the future if you were to find out that they lied?” Witterholt said.

She also said the employer must keep a copy of the employee's vaccination card.

Governor Kevin Stitt is pushing back on the OSHA requirements and President Biden’s mandates saying it will only hurt businesses who are already struggling to find enough employees, while experiencing supply chain disruptions. "It proves that President Biden is totally out of touch with reality," Stitt said.

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