Batavia, NY asked in Employment Discrimination and Employment Law for New York

Q: Can a school district put you on unpaid leave without it being in contract for refusing Covid-19 weekly testing

We were given a letter this week to submit for weekly Covid-19 testing starting next week in we are unvaccinated. A few of us bus drivers are refusing for various reasons and concerns. We were told they would put us on unpaid leave for refusing. I read that they cannot do this if it's not in our contract. I'm not sure if it's true or if we can do anything about this, legally.

1 Lawyer Answer
V. Jonas Urba
V. Jonas Urba
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Answered
  • Employment Law Lawyer
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: It's a public safety issue like wearing seat belts although you can't see the potentially deadly nature of the virus.

If you have a strongly held religious belief from a recognized religious group or organization speak with those authorities about an exemption. If your physician believes that your immune system or other serious health condition prevents you from vaccination speak with your medical professional.

Union contracts do not include every single unknown, unforeseen possibility. COVID may not have even existed when the collective bargaining agreement was drafted. Your union has a duty of fair representation. That means that it will or should treat every single member similarly.

If the union is not requiring that everyone be vaccinated it would certainly be discriminatory for it to exempt testing for some but not others. If you had immune compromised children and discovered that their bus driver is not vaccinated would you be ok with them riding on that bus? What about your doctor's office? If everyone at the doctor's office was not vaccinated would you not choose another doctor? The list goes on.

When I relay my story of having a near death viral experience where a physician looked scared s _ _ _ _ _ _ _ into my eyes, having no idea how I might be cured, me with a relapsing fever of 103 for almost 3 weeks with dry heaves, barely able to walk or keep food down, thinking I was going to die, suffering with a viral infection which to this day has no vaccine. I will never choose that road again. Called Colorado Tick Fever. I was a whole lot younger and very physically fit, but still very near death. No thanks. Good luck.

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