As vaccine mandates start becoming the norm, some like Sen. Kirk Cullimore, R-Sandy of Utah think businesses that mandate the shot should be on the hook for potential risks.
With many companies and entire industries beginning to require their employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine, some are wondering who will be on the hook if something goes wrong. For example, Sen. Kirk Cullimore, R-Sandy of Utah recently said that if “businesses require vaccines, then they should also take on potential risks.” He feels so strongly about the matter that he is drafting up a proposal “that would make businesses requiring vaccinations liable if an employee suffers an adverse reaction.”
While commenting on his proposal, Cullimore said, “If a private business is going to mandate a medical procedure, then they should take on some form of liability.” It’s important to note that, while rare, some people do experience serious side effects after getting the vaccine. However, in most cases, fully vaccinated individuals tend to experience significantly lower rates of severe illness, hospitalization, and death.
Cullimore said that “anyone that claims they suffered from a vaccine will have to prove that in court,” but he thinks “there should be a legal path should anyone want to make such a claim.” He added:
“If they’re going to get in the business of ensuring people do things for public health, then there should be some risk involved. They will have to decide if they want to go there or not.”
More and more employees are mandating that their employees get the vaccine, even some businesses in Utah. According to a recent Gallup poll, “the number of employees reporting that their employer is requiring the COVID-19 vaccine doubled from July to August.” In addition to businesses, many universities and colleges are mandating that students receive the vaccine as well.
However, not everyone believes a proposal like Cullimore’s is needed right now. According to Jeff Schwartz, a law professor at the University of Utah, “worker’s compensation laws already hold a business liable for anything that happens to an employee within the scope of their job…including mandatory vaccines.” He added:
“The general idea of worker’s comp is that you go to work in a factory and you lose a finger operating heavy machinery. Instead of having to find a lawyer and sue your employer, you can recover as the employee under worker’s compensation. It’s intended to cover stuff like this where an employee gets injured because of a requirement of their job, and vaccination, in this case, would seem to fit.”
He noted that if Cullimore decided to “expand that liability beyond what already exists, perhaps creating an additional layer of liability to protect workers, that could have a chilling effect on whether businesses require vaccinations.” He continued:
“It’s conceivable an employee could recover both under worker’s comp and under tort liability. That would definitely increase the level of risk for employers and would cause some concern.”