Do lawyers have an ethical obligation to be vaccinated against Covid19?

By Taher Kameli

 

The COVID19 crisis has dramatically shaken all the markets. Yet, we – lawyers and law firms – have responded quickly while effectively serving our clients and maintaining our practices.

Probably you have heard about companies constantly reviewing and revising their COVID 19 guidelines as the pandemic continues. As a result, many employers may wonder what to do if a worker refuses to be vaccinated. Some consequences have been dismissals or unpaid leave.

Some employers have already issued vaccination mandates. President Biden has instructed OSHA to enact rules that require vaccinations or weekly tests for employers with more than 100 employees.

 

Legally speaking, vaccinated people do not need to share this information with anyone asking for it. If an employer complies with federal and state laws, federal regulations generally take precedence over state law, but federal restrictions do not apply universally and may affect some employers. EEOC and federal law state that employers can require workers to be vaccinated, but some states are trying to find ways to circumvent these laws. For example, companies in Montana and Tennessee do not need to be legally vaccinated under the anti-discrimination law created and passed during the COVID 19 pandemic.

Some courts have begun issuing orders to their employees and everyone who enters the building. Last year, we started seeing more headlines about this. For example, in October 2021, a Wisconsin judge ordered Covid 19 vaccinations in his court. Anyone who entered the court needed to present evidence of immunization within 14 days of the appearance. The only exempted people were the ones with a medical note from a board-certified physician explaining the “specific medical condition” that person had and why it was not vaccinated. Some personnel needed to provide a negative test as well.

But what does this all mean? First, depending on where and what a lawyer is practicing, they may not be able to effectively represent a client without being fully vaccinated. 

In other words, a lawyer who is eligible to be vaccinated and refuses may prioritize his or her interests over the client. If it chooses not to be vaccinated, it will not be able to attend court hearings. 

The outgoing pandemic is a serious public health threat that has caused many deaths. We live in a country where vaccination failure may not be a violation. However, it can have moral implications if an immune-compromised individual gets infected. We need to work together to put the virus once and for all under control.

 

The Law Offices of Kameli & Associates have the ethical obligation to care for our community and our clients. Therefore, our office is a safe environment, open to everyone looking for legal guidance. We are all fully vaccinated.

 

Don’t hesitate to contact us at info@kameli.com or give us a call at (312)-233-1000 if you have any further questions about COVID-19 regulations.

 

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