Vaccine Mandates, Paid Sick Leave and Refusal to Treat Unvaccinated


Eastman & Smith attorneys continue to answer questions regarding legal developments involving COVID-19 (a.k.a. coronavirus).  The latest issues involve federal mandates, paid sick leave and refusal to treat unvaccinated patients. 

COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates 

Eastman & Smith members James B. Yates and Sarah E. Pawlicki published an article in the national publication Westlaw Today addressing COVID-19 mandates for federal contractors and OSHA’s emergency temporary standard (ETS).  The in-depth piece covers: 

  1. Who is affected by the mandate and ETS.
  2. What are the ramifications of not being in compliance.
  3. When they take effect.
  4. What are the requirements.
  5. What employers should do.

Both Mr. Yates and Ms. Pawlicki represent employers in employment and labor law matters.  They partner with human resource professionals to address employment policies as well as identifying and mitigating legal risks.  Each holds a Society for Human Resources Management SHRM-CP certification as well as degrees in law.  

Paid Sick Leave 

The Columbus Dispatch recently published an article focusing on employees who lack paid sick leave (subscription required to access).  They interviewed Eastman & Smith attorney Brigid E. Heid regarding a federal movement that would require employers offer paid sick leave.  According to Ms. Heid, “[COVID-19] really started the conversation about how we protect essential workers who aren't making enough.”  Ms. Heid is a member of the Firm whose legal practice encompasses counseling businesses on best practices and procedures, handbooks, wage and hour, employee leave and discipline, EEO, internal investigations, and protecting intellectual property and confidential information.

Refusing Medical Care to the Unvaccinated 

Whether or not medical professionals can refuse to treat patients who have not received the COVID-19 vaccine is debated on DecisionHealth.  Weighing in on the discussion is Eastman & Smith associate Anne L. Schroeder, who engages in the corporate, transactional and regulatory needs of clients and is familiar with compliance issues including Stark Law, Anti-Kickback Statute, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and other federal and state laws.  Ms. Schroder indicated refusal as a means to “incentivize vaccination” could be consider unethical.  It also removes an opportunity the medical professional has to education his or her patients.