When Wentworth Management Services CEO, Ryan Morfin, surveyed his employees about the COVID-19 vaccine, many stated they would leave the company if forced to comply with a strict company vaccination policy.
“I think the experimental nature of some of these vaccines has a lot of people questioning side effects and prior health conditions, and that’s totally natural,” Morfin told Dallas Express. “People should do the research.”
Wentworth Management Services is a financial services company.
Morfin’s comments come in response to President Biden’s announcement earlier this month that the U.S. Department of Labor is writing a new rule requiring companies with more than 100 employees to require vaccinations or provide once-per-week testing for their staff.
“We do not agree with Biden’s policy,” Morfin said in an interview. “We’re based in Texas, and so we think it’ll take some time for the state and federal laws to get synced up. As an employer, we’re waiting for local and state regulations.”
Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton, is among 24 Republican Attorneys General who threatened legal action in a September 16 letter to President Biden if he does not change course on imposing a vaccine mandate on private companies.
“The vaccines have helped protect millions of Americans, and there are surely others who could benefit from obtaining this treatment but convincing those who are hesitant to do so would require you to allow room for discussion and disagreement,” the letter states. “Instead, you have offered the American people flimsy legal arguments, contradictory statements, and threatening directives. It is almost as if your goal is to sow division and distrust rather than promote unity and the public’s health.”
Under Texas law, employees have the right to determine what medical care to accept and refuse. It also protects the rights of all health care workers to abstain from participating in abortions.
“It’s going to be a very interesting question between states’ rights and the federal mandates that are being pushed out,” Morfin said. “It’s a very interesting time for employment law. I just don’t think employers want to be the ones that tell their employees to have to be vaccinated.”
“We’ve created a non-mandatory vaccine policy, so we’re not going to force our employees to take a vaccine,” Morfin said. “We’ve enabled them to either work remotely or come to work in a responsible manner, but we don’t think it’s appropriate for the government or for employers to tell employees that they have to do something with their health for them or their families.”
The Texas Commission on Human Rights Act requires employers to accommodate employees’ sincere religious beliefs, however, some Texas hospitals have been caught denying religious exemptions.
For example, Liberty Counsel, on behalf of three health care workers, sent a demand letter to Texas Children’s Hospital after they and numerous others were allegedly unlawfully denied religious exemptions for the COVID shot mandates earlier this week.
“I think the vaccine should be voluntary, and we encourage people to get the vaccine, but it’s their choice,” said Richard Collins, chairman and CEO of Istation. “We do not have a vaccine policy.”
Collins told Dallas Express that most of his employees will work remotely for the educational technology provider until January 1.
“We’re mainly working from home, although we encourage people to come into the office,” he said. With the massive amount of knowledge that’s available online or on television today, they can make their own determination about taking the vaccine.”
According to media reports, Biden’s forced vaccination policy for companies with 100 or more employees could impact some 100 million workers.
“It does apply to us,” Collins said in an interview. “We have more than one hundred employees, but federal government and state policies change rapidly, so we’ll deal with that accordingly when the time comes.”
Morfin is waiting until the Department of Labor issues Biden’s new rule before implementing any vaccine requirements.
“There’s no clarification,” he said. “So, we’re not trying to rush to any type of conclusion on this. We’re waiting for legal counsel to weigh in. A lot of this COVID policy has been so haphazard that it hasn’t been clear for employers along the way about immunity.”
As previously reported, employees who have an adverse reaction due to forced vaccination by their employer may find recourse under a workers’ compensation claim, but where legal liability might land for private companies is unclear.
“The vaccine companies get complete immunity, but what happens if something’s wrong with the vaccine? Do the employers get complete immunity for forcing employees to take this, and the answer is definitely “no” because that’s not an insurable option for the government to do,” Morfin added. “It’s a quagmire for the government to try to get on this road.”