HR In Aggregate: Weed, Boosters, and Vaccines – Oh My!

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Mississippi Legalizes Medical Cannabis

On February 2, 2022, Mississippi became the latest state to create a medical marijuana law. The Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act (MMCA) became effective immediately upon Governor Tate Reeves’s signature. Prior to enacting the MMCA, Mississippi allowed only the limited use of cannabidiol (CBD) oil, under Harper Grace’s Law. Miss. Code Ann. § 41-29-136. Although Mississippi now authorizes the use of medical cannabis to treat certain debilitating medical conditions, the new law contains no employment protections for workers that engage in such use. In fact, the law contains provisions explicitly stating that employers need not facilitate, accommodate, or otherwise allow for an employee’s use of medical cannabis, and cannot be sued for taking employment actions on the basis of such use. Learn More


Fifth Circuit Reverses Denial of Preliminary Injunction in Vaccine Mandate Case

While the issue of whether private employers can legally enforce vaccine mandates among their workforce continues to be challenged across the country, a split panel in the Fifth Circuit is the first appellate court to signal certain private employer mandates could be vulnerable. On February 17, 2022, the Fifth Circuit issued an unpublished 2-to-1 panel decision in Sambrano v. United Airlines. The opinion, which is of limited precedential value, reverses the district court’s denial of a preliminary injunction against the airline’s mandatory vaccine program. In reversing the district court, the Fifth Circuit concluded the plaintiff employees sufficiently demonstrated they would suffer irreparable harm if the airline enforced its vaccination requirement. While superficially this may seem a blow to employer-backed vaccine programs, the majority opinion stresses that the decision is strictly limited to the parties, facts, and legal test before it. Learn More


New York State Healthcare Worker COVID-19 Booster Deadline Will Not Be Enforced – For Now

On February 18, 2022, the New York Department of Health issued a press release stating that to avoid potential staffing issues and to allow NY healthcare workers more time to become boosted against COVID-19, the booster requirement that was to apply to all healthcare workers eligible to receive a COVID-19 booster shot will not be enforced on February 21, 2022 as originally announced. The state will reassess in three months whether additional steps are needed to increase the booster rate among healthcare workers. At present, the state reports that 75% of healthcare workers in New York have received or are willing to receive a COVID-19 booster shot. Healthcare workers are still required to comply with the original vaccination requirements. Learn More


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Lisa Smith, SPHR, SHRM – SCP

Certified EEO Investigator (EEOC)

Lead Support and Content Chief – HelpDeskforHR.com

“You cannot be audit-proof, but you can Be Audit-Secure.”

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