The first global appearance of COVID-19 occurred in early 2020. Since then, many variants have developed, but the most deadly variant to hit the globe has been the Delta variant. The Delta variant was first detected in India last October, where it spread like wildfire creating a COVID-19 surge that set records for new infections and deaths. Since its first detection, it has spread to more than 100 countries. The Delta variant reached the U.S. in March and by mid-July it accounted for three-quarters of COVID-19 cases. The variant accounts for 83% of all U.S. cases and more than 95% of individuals who are being hospitalized due to the variant are unvaccinated. As a result, more employers are requiring workers to get vaccinated before returning to work leading to an increase of federal lawsuits by a handful of unvaccinated individuals against the COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
Many of these lawsuits are grounded in the individuals’ beliefs that it is unlawful for a public or private sector employer to require them to take the COVID-19 vaccine. However, legally there is little in preventing private or public sector employees from imposing vaccination requirements. Under U.S. employment law, employers have the power to issue such mandates, as well as government authorities, so long as they are not violating workplace-discrimination laws.The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a commission with the authority to govern both public and private employers, issued a guidance to employers that allows them to require employee vaccinations if they offer reasonable accommodations to individuals who refuse to put the vaccine on because of a disability or religious belief that is covered by the American Disabilities Act or Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The EEOC also requires that the employers, in addition to adhering to the circumstances formerly discussed, comply with laws ensuring a safe workplace.
Unvaccinated individuals, however, are not content with the mandates and have taken to the streets to protest and claim that the emergency status of the vaccines deems it an unfit vaccine to be required to be mandated. Their protests and lawsuits, nonetheless, are mainly groundless considering the power that employers have in imposing a vaccine mandate, but unvaccinated individuals are not giving up on their beliefs.
Thus, with the rise of the COVID-19 Delta variant comes a rise of employers leaning towards vaccination mandates, and a rise in unvaccinated individuals filing lawsuits on grounds that their rights are being infringed upon.