FACT FINDERS: How do new OSHA COVID vaccine rules affect state workers?

KOLD News 5-5:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Nov. 4, 2021 at 7:24 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - We know the new Occupational Safety and Health Administration COVID-19 vaccine mandate is for private companies with more than 100 workers, but what about state and local government employees? Could this rule apply to them too?

Jessica Post, Director at Fennemore Craig, says this is a complicated situation and there is not a clear answer just yet.

”A lot of times state employees they would maybe be in their separate area and the federal law wouldn’t apply but it’s going to ultimately depend on whether there is a conflict and I know that there’s a conflict right now between some of Governor Ducey’s executive orders and then separately this mandate if it were to apply to state and local employees, which on its face, it doesn’t. However, OSHA sometimes encompasses because the state has chosen to encompass other employees in its OSHA work plan,” said Post.

In August, Governor Ducey issued an executive order basically saying any county, city, town or political subdivision official that implements a vaccine mandate could face legal action.

It is also important to note, Post says generally speaking if you have a federal law and a state law, the federal law preempts the state. Post believes Ducey’s office will be coming down with some guidance for state and local employees who are working for the state government. However, until they issue their recommendations it remains uncertain.

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