Thomas McCutcheon

Q: My employer told me that I had to get the COVID vaccinate or be terminated. I declined to get vaccinated and was terminated. Is there anything I can do?

- Anonymous 

A: Alabama is not a State that offers very much in the way of worker protection. Keep in mind that federal protections under the Equal Employment Opportunity Act are always applicable in every state. No state has the right to diminish federal protections such as race, color, religion, sex or age. Every state has the right to expand those protections as they see fit.

The only additional protection Alabama offers employees is under the Alabama Workers Compensation Act which provides that a worker may not be fired making a claim under the Worker’s Compensation Act.

Alabama is an “at will” employment state. That means that absent a contract any worker may be fired for “good cause, bad cause or no cause at all”.

In all honesty, I do not know how this will shake out because it has not been directly addressed by a court. Certainly, people are entitled to weigh their options and make their own choices. I suspect that eventually the federal mandate will be declared unconstitutional.

The real question is not whether or not an employer can fire you, because they can (and did) but whether or not the recent legislation passed by the Alabama Legislature would allow you to draw unemployment. I do not know the answer to that question.

Buckle up, drive safely, and as always, your referrals are appreciated! 256-764-0112

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