Ohio House OKs Bill Restricting Employer Options During COVID-19

In an 11th-hour move, the Ohio House this week voted 58-32 to pass legislation (House Bill 218) that would expand COVID-19 vaccine exemptions and prohibit businesses from requiring proof of vaccination for customers or employees.

The OMA opposed the measure, calling it “an unnecessary invasion of employer rights” and a repeat of House Bill 435, which was considered by House lawmakers earlier this fall. Like its predecessor, HB 218 would allow gaping exemptions from any COVID-19 vaccine requirement that a private employer may implement. These exemptions would make any such decision by an employer meaningless.

The OMA has continuously voiced support for the right of employers to determine their own workplace policies with respect to COVID-19 vaccines.

The bill now heads to the Senate, where Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) has cast doubts on the bill’s prospects. Huffman told The Columbus Dispatch (subscription) that “most of the Senate Republican caucus eschew the suggestion that we need to go and tell businesses how to run their businesses.” 11/18/2021

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