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Can my job require the vaccine? Alabama Attorney General’s Office weighs in

vaccine mandates gain momentum
vaccine mandates gain momentum(KFDA)
Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 10:16 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Get the vaccine or quit your job? This is the choice facing many employees all over the country, including right here in north Alabama.

People on both sides are very passionate about this issue, some applaud these companies’ decisions, others say this is just not right.

Walmart, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, Netflix, Uber are just some of the massive companies requiring employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Tyson Plants, which has a plant in Albertville has a deadline for their employees by November 1, and Genesis Healthcare, a company with three senior living homes throughout the Valley, is requiring all employees to have their first dose by August 23.

The big question is, is this legal? The short answer: Yes.

“Employers can have certain requirements to do the job. In this case, being vaccinated is something an employer can require an employee to attend work every day,” Huntsville Attorney Eric Artrip said.

Attorney Eric Artrip says since Alabama is an at-will state, you can leave your job at any time, but your employer can also end your employment.

But what about Alabama’s newly passed Vaccine Passport Law?

The office of Attorney General Steve Marshall clarified saying it prohibits businesses from serving customers based on vaccination status, not from requiring workers to get the shot.

Adding, the law “protects consumers of goods and services and does not address employer-employee relationships. Thus, it cannot be read to prohibit private employers from requiring employees to vaccinate against COVID-19.”

The legal director for the Alabama chapter of American Civil Liberties Union says the nonprofit supports the least intrusive way to protect the public’s health.

“It is our first, best, least intrusive option to get back to normal life. We had to close down businesses, yes we had to have curfews, yes we had to have masks. Having the vaccine gives us an alternative to completely disrupting the economy, completely disrupting livelihoods,” Tish Faulks said.

Someone WAFF 48 spoke with anonymously says the senior living facility, River City Center in Decatur, is already short-handed, and this vaccine requirement could cause more people to walk away from their jobs.

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