Local Attorney Reaction to Supreme Court Blocking Federal Vaccine Mandate

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – Thursday afternoon, the supreme court blocked the federal vaccine requirement for businesses of 100 or more employees.
But they kept the mandate for large health care providers. The debate behind these mandates has dominated headlines the past year, even locally.

“I think that the politics has muddled up everything. When you go to the doctor, you aren’t worried whether the doctor is a Democrat or a Republican,” says Craig Smith, an attorney with Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel.

Chattanooga is home to dozens of organizations with more than 100 employees, with Hamilton County Schools and Blue Cross Blue Shield leading the pack.
Blue Cross Blue Shield fired employees this past fall for not getting vaccinated. Companies still retain the right to do that but the government can’t require it.

“Ultimately, you can’t prove where anything came from. So I don’t know that even if this mandate doesn’t go forward any further, I don’t that employers will be on the hook for their employers being exposed to COVID because you don’t know if it happened in the work place environment or in their personal lives,” says Smith. With another election year on the horizon and COVID not going anywhere, the mandate debate may top the concerns of voters.

“Whether there are any legal consequences from where we are right now that remains to be seen. My guess is they’ll keep trying to figure out ways to make a vaccine mandate become reality and I’m sure there’s people on the other side who will fight to not allow a vaccine mandate to become reality,” says Smith.

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