By Mike Baggerman  |  WBEN  |  October 26, 2021 5:00 am

Attorney: Mandated vaccines are here to stay for large number of employees

Employees who sue employers over vaccine mandate have little chance to win in courts

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) – Employees looking to sue their employers over a COVID-19 vaccine mandate don’t have much of a chance at winning their battle in court.

“Those challenges are not going well,” James Grasso, an attorney at Phillips Lytle and Partner in its Labor and Employment group, said about lawsuits against the public sector. “In virtually every case I’ve seen, the government mandate for employees getting vaccinated are being upheld.”

Roughly 200 employees at Moog walked out of their jobs Monday over the company’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Moog, which designs and manufactures equipment used by the United States government, is contracted by the federal government. President Joe Biden’s executive order requires companies contracted by the federal government to get a vaccine by December 8. Those employees are pushing back against the mandate, saying it sets a precedent that will be exploited in the future.

“We are facing the greatest empire in the world in the federal government and it’s going to be a battle in court,” Matt Schieber, a Moog manager who organized Monday’s walkout, said. “I just hope for the sake of the employees that we get some expedience and get an injunction and allow us to keep working until they figure it out.”

Schieber and other employees are also hoping Congress will pass a law preventing executive orders from mandating vaccines or other medical procedures on employees and private companies.

“Certainly here in New York, employers still have the legal authority to mandate vaccines if they wish,” Grasso said. “It’s very difficult, if not possible, for an employee to sue a company that imposes a mandate because the company is simply making it a condition of employment like anything else an employee has to comply with if they want a job. If an employee doesn’t want to be vaccinated, they can go work someplace else. They’re not being required to be vaccinated. They have a choice where they work.”

Grasso said there’s not many other options for employees. They either have to comply with the vaccine mandates or find new employment.

Congressman Chris Jacobs told WBEN that although he is vaccinated, he is against mandates.

“We need to treat people like adults and continue to educate and inform,” Jacobs said. “Mandates are not the way to go.”

Grasso expects more vaccine mandates to come forward, including one from OSHA which requires that all employers with 100 or more employees mandate a vaccine against coronavirus or offer weekly testing.

“We’ve been moving closer and closer to mandated vaccines and those are coming into focus and are going to cover more and more employees,” Grasso said. “As much as some people may not like it, mandated vaccines are here to stay for a large number of employees.”