SAN DIEGO — One of San Diego’s largest health care systems is requiring all of its employees to comply with the state’s vaccination policy by the Sept. 30 deadline, or they no longer will be employed.
This month, California was the first state in the U.S. to require all health care workers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, a move which comes amid rising hospitalizations in the state and the spread of the highly contagious delta variant. The state’s Department of Public Health said employees are required to have received their second dose of the vaccine by Sept. 30.
In a statement to FOX 5, San Diego-based Scripps Health said its policy will put it in compliance with the state’s vaccination mandate. It applies to all employees other than those who qualify for a religious or medical exemption.
But the policy has created a dilemma for some employees, with one telling FOX 5 she’s unhappy about it.
“You have to get vaccinated or you’re going to lose your job, but we’re not going to pay you (and) we’re going to fight you for unemployment?” an employee, who asked to remain anonymous, said. “What kind of employer does that?”
The same employee provided FOX 5 a five-page list of frequently asked questions sent to Scripps Health employees. According to the document, Scripps views failure to comply with its company vaccine mandate as a form of voluntary resignation, which typically doesn’t qualify a person for unemployment benefits.
“The termination code is considered voluntary in our system and will communicate accordingly with the state,” the document reads.
Scripps Health employs around 15,000 people and says vaccination will be required of every employee, regardless of their type of job with the company.
Employees who want to apply for a medical or religious exemption must do so by Aug. 23.
“So, can they require a vaccine? The answer is always a qualified yes,” FOX 5 legal analyst Wendy Patrick said. “Obviously they want to make sure employers are able to maintain a safe work place for everyone. For employees, for customers, for vendors.”
Patrick says private companies have the right to require vaccination, but reasonable accommodations must be made for people who may be exempt.
“If there’s a medical exemption, if there’s a religious exemption, many employers are becoming very creative in fashioning reasonable accommodations,” she said. “They’ve talked about weekly tests, they’ve talked about masks, social distancing, teleworking, remote options — in other words it’s never as easy as simply saying no shot, no salary.”