How to File a Complaint Against a Private Employer’s Vaccine Mandate in Florida
BY JENNIFER CABRERA
What Do Florida Laws Say About Vaccination Mandates?
On November 19, 2021, following the Special Session of the Legislature, Governor DeSantis enacted HB 1B, creating Florida Statute § 381.00317. Section 381.00317 prohibits private employers from COVID-19 vaccination mandates unless the employer accepts certain individual exemptions from the vaccine requirement.
The following forms must be accepted by employers:
Who enforces this ban on mandates?
The Department of Legal Affairs (DLA), under the direction of Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, has been tasked with investigating employee complaints about companies’ compliance with the new law, and DLA has developed a complaints process for review employee complaints. If the company has not fired the employee, a company that breaks the law has the opportunity to remedy the non-compliance. A company that terminates or does the functional equivalent of dismissing an employee may be fined if it does not reinstate an employee, with fines depending on the size of the employer. “The functional equivalent of dismissal” can mean that the employee resigned under duress or that the employer made working conditions so difficult or intolerable that “a reasonable person in the employee’s position would feel obligated. to resign ”.
How to declare an employer?
Rule 2ER21-1 outlines procedures for reporting employers who require employees to be vaccinated and do not accept exemptions, regardless of the reason given by the employer. The law applies to both employees and contractors; it does not apply to certain independent contractors who maintain businesses and have contracts with more than one employer. The law does not apply to government employers.
Complaints must be submitted online using the form VAX 1, which requests information about the employee, employer, and any exemptions submitted by the employee. There is space to describe actions taken against the employee that are the functional equivalent of a termination, and there is space to enter the ID number of a previous complaint if the employee submits information updates.
Complaints filed online will be dealt with more quickly. Complaints can also be submitted by email to: [email protected] or by US mail to: Department of Legal Affairs, Private Employer Vaccine Mandate Program, PL-01, the Capitol, Tallahassee, FL 32399-1050.
What happens next?
If the DLA finds that the complaint is incomplete, it will notify the employee, who will have 30 days to submit the missing information. When DLA begins its investigation, it sends a copy of the complaint to the employer, who has 20 days to respond. DLA then investigates the complaint to determine probable cause; If probable cause is found, DLA will file a formal administrative complaint against the employer and pursue the complaint, including holding an evidentiary hearing before an administrative judge if there are disputed issues of material fact.
The DLA will periodically notify the employee of the status of the investigation, indicating whether the probable cause has been found and the status of the administrative proceeding or appeal. If the probable cause is not found, the employee will have 30 days to provide additional information that may be relevant to the decision.
The fine for employers with less than 100 employees is $ 10,000 per violation; for employers with 100 or more employees, the fine is $ 50,000 per violation.