DeSantis may strip lawsuit protection from businesses requiring COVID-19 vaccinations
Image via AP.

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'In Florida, it shall not stand.'

Gov. Ron DeSantis is considering asking the Legislature to allow employees to sue bosses who require them to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and to remove the state’s litigation shield from businesses that require them of workers and customers.

“If a business forces somebody to do this then that employee, if there’s anything that happens negative as a result of that coercion, you know, they should be able to go in and then sue and get compensation, get damages for that,” the governor said during a news conference Thursday in Fort Myers.

“We worked very hard in Florida to provide protections against COVID liability for businesses, because we worried about people just going in and starting to sue, to say, ‘Hey, I was in your business and I caught COVID, therefore it’s your fault.’ That’s just not the way respiratory viruses work. We’ve just never done it that way.

“So, we provided good protection. But, you know, businesses turn around and now they’re imposing mandates. Then that protection, to me, is something that we would probably want to peel back from those businesses,” DeSantis said.

The liability protection bill was the first out of the 2021 Legislature that DeSantis signed into law. It protects businesses, including medical providers, against claims that they exposed workers or customers to the coronavirus. He described it at the time as key to reopening the state’s economy following the stay-home order he signed early in the pandemic.

Separate legislation that the Governor signed on May 3 forbids local governments and businesses from requiring “vaccine passports,” or documentation that people have been vaccinated, as a condition of providing services, on pain of fines of $5,000 per violation.

Thus far, the administration has identified around 120 businesses, big and small, and local governments that it may seek penalties against under the law, according to the Department of Health.

DeSantis offered the remarks while highlighting the efficacy of monoclonal antibody therapy in preventing serious COVID-19 symptoms and death. Flanked by state Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, the Governor argued that vaccines mandates are misguided because the shots are no guarantee against infection and may not be necessary for people who acquire resistance through infections.

“It doesn’t mean there’s not value in it, but forcing this in, like, a workplace — it doesn’t mean that you’re still not going to see infections. I think they’ll be mild infections, hopefully, and, if they’re not we have monoclonal antibodies where you can come and, hopefully, nip it in the bud then,” he said.

Here’s what the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says:

“COVID-19 vaccines are effective and are a critical tool to bring the pandemic under control; however, no vaccine is 100 percent effective at preventing illness. Some fully vaccinated people will get sick, and some will even be hospitalized or die from COVID-19. However, there is evidence that vaccination may make illness less severe for those who are vaccinated and still get sick. The risk of infection, hospitalization, and death are all much lower in vaccinated people compared to unvaccinated.”

Resistance to Biden mandate

DeSantis has vowed to resist President Joe Biden’s plan to require companies with more than 100 workers to force them to take the shots. According to an Associated Press report, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration submitted the regulation to the Office of Management and Budget for review on Tuesday. The agency has 90 days to review the matter; Biden has encouraged businesses to comply voluntarily in the meantime.

The president has issued similar orders to federal contractors and workers at nursing homes that receive federal health care funds.

“We are going to contest that immediately,” DeSantis said of the Biden vaccine mandate, adding that he may recruit businesses to participate in a legal challenge.

He predicted the mandates would cause shortages among key workers including nurses.

“I am offended that, like, a police officer could potentially lose their job. They were not given the ability to work from home. They didn’t get to Zoom in to protect us. Ain’t gonna work to protect the public on Zoom,” he said.

“In Florida, it shall not stand,” DeSantis said.

“Does the federal government have this authority? Clearly, Congress has never enacted a statute to this effect, so this is a unilateral executive action. Does that trump the ability of individuals to make their own choices or the ability of states to be able to provide protections for people and for their jobs?”

Although every President since George Washington has issued executive orders, according to an American Bar Association summary, their legitimacy has been highly contested in recent years. They offer presidents a way around Congress’ refusal or inability to act on a policy priority but political opponents have been known to argue specific orders are overly broad. Congress retains authority to override these orders if it chooses. (Read more here.)

According to the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, for example, “One of the first ‘orders’ of business for President Donald Trump was signing an executive order to weaken Obamacare, while Republicans figure out how to replace it. So what powers do executive orders have?”

DeSantis said: “I know where I stand. I want to protect people’s jobs. I want to protect people’s livelihoods. I do not want to see people cast aside based on some overbroad, very harsh mandate.”

___

Via Michael Moline of Florida Phoenix.

Florida Phoenix is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Florida Phoenix maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Diane Rado for questions: [email protected] Follow Florida Phoenix on Facebook and Twitter.

Florida Phoenix

Florida Phoenix is a news and opinion outlet focused on government and political news coverage within the state of Florida.


14 comments

  • PeterH

    October 15, 2021 at 12:28 pm

    DeSantis will do anything to interfere with private business’s decisions to internally regulate their policies.

    With every new DeSantis edict……Florida is mirroring the policies of Venezuela. No! This is not a conservative agenda!

    • Evan Miller

      October 15, 2021 at 1:10 pm

      Take the jab, end up on a slab.

    • Tom

      October 15, 2021 at 9:11 pm

      Oh yeah, is the America’s Gov. ordering all of private businesses in the country to do something. Which will cause national security risks, and unemployment devastation personally and towards our economy.

      But according to hypocrites like you, only Government knows best. I forgot.

      You are a lost person.

      • Sister Marilyn O'Rowe, Order of the Court

        October 16, 2021 at 8:16 pm

        You, sir, are a masturbator! Saying anything to make your Little Willie brain (second head) feel good. But bless your heart nonetheless.

        • Tom

          October 16, 2021 at 9:57 pm

          You are scum, you pathetic pig Dummycrat. Your slander is for curb crawlers.

          You can’t defend your Alzheimer’s President. Or the incompetent giggles vice.

          Biden maxes out at 32% approval. 55% think he’s incompetent. But you were stupid to vote for him. LMAO

          Go use your finger on self, you PUD.

        • Tom

          October 17, 2021 at 9:35 am

          Did you crawl off the curb yet?
          Scum bag Sister Marilyn.

      • Tom

        October 16, 2021 at 11:31 pm

        Scum bag.

      • Tom

        October 17, 2021 at 9:36 am

        Scum bag Sister Marilyn,

    • Jerry

      October 15, 2021 at 10:41 pm

      But it’s perfectly OK for the President to order all businesses to mandate the vaccine and interfere in the private medical decisions of a private company’s workers? You feel that’s not interfering in private business decisions?

      I have two family members now that have serious side effects after getting the COVID shots. I saw it with my own eyes! I will NEVER get these shots. Especially since they don’t even work! Vaccinated people are still catching the virus. I’ve had COVID. I have antibodies. And beat the virus in 3 days. I’m a young, healthy adult. I DON’T NEED THIS SHOT! AND I WILL NOT BE GETTING IT!

  • PeterH

    October 15, 2021 at 2:45 pm

    Hundreds of millions have had the jab ….. a handful have died. Stop your stupidity…. It’s embarrassing!

  • Bobby Lee Loewen

    October 16, 2021 at 1:08 pm

    This is exactly the type of action that we need to prevent the medical tyranny from taking a complete hold on our businesses in Florida

  • Beth

    October 16, 2021 at 3:15 pm

    The Neanderthals who don’t get a vaccine should not then be allowed to waste our healthcare resources when they get Covid. If you are stupid enough to believe the sociopath DeSantis whose only motivation for doing anything is money you deserve what you get. Do any of these dopes ever wonder why Ronnie was first in line to get a vaccine but he doesn’t want anyone else to get one?

    • Tom

      October 16, 2021 at 7:07 pm

      You are a pathetic human Beth . Of course towel boy agrees with you.

      You owe an apology, period you liar.
      America’s Gov held 50 plus events for vaccines. He followed the science.

      He successfully encouraged seniors and Joe Bidens HHS secr acknowledged Florida did it correctly!

      Sorry you partisan hack liars, documented by HHS. DeSantis the best.

  • PeterH

    October 16, 2021 at 4:14 pm

    Agree! 😃

    The unvaccinated are impacting the economy….. and overwhelming our healthcare.

    There is a reason Florida education system has over 5000 vacancies!

Comments are closed.


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