Can you get fired for not getting the COVID-19 vaccine?
Local attorney Rex Hagg offered some guidance on if South Dakota can lose their job if they don't get the COVID-19 vaccine.
RAPID CITY, S.D. — Businesses in South Dakota could require vaccinations among their workers.
From a legal perspective, many may have questions.
But based on his 38 years of legal experience and time as a former South Dakota Legislator, Rex Hagg, of the firm Whiting Hagg Hagg Dorsey & Hagg in Rapid City, says unvaccinated workers may not have a legal ground to stand on.
The basis for discrimination among state and federal laws is clear. Workers who have legitimate disabilities or religious exemptions may have a case. Those that aren’t in these groups simply don’t.
“The laws outlined protected classes, people that need protection,” Hagg said. “You know, age discrimination based on race discrimination, some religion discrimination and so COVID really doesn’t fit into that. Everybody gets it and everybody is susceptible to it.”
South Dakota is right to work state, meaning that employers and employees can cut ties with one another without penalties.
When it comes to vaccinations, businesses have the right to terminate their employees.
“If an individual feels strongly that they don’t want the the COVID vaccine, they don’t have to get it, but they also may not have a job if that happens,” Hagg said.
Rumors of state legislators requesting a special meeting to ban businesses from mandating the vaccines are swirling, but Governor Kristi Noem says that they can only do so with support.
Noem going further saying that she won’t interfere and that businesses should know that their workforce could walk away.
“Businesses that choose to require vaccinations should do so with the full knowledge that their employees and their future workers, they may have other choices and workers may be faced with a time when the requirements or values of their employer is inconsistent with their own beliefs,” Noem said. “But bringing government into those decisions is not the solution.”
“It is your right not to do it, we can’t force you to do it, but we can also say you know it doesn’t force us (businesses) to give you a job either,” Hagg said.