SHARE

May 16, 2022

South Carolina Anti-Vaccine Mandate Law: Implications for Private Employers

You've Reached Your
Free Article Limit This Month
Subscribe now to get unlimited access to all Law.com OnPractice content. Your subscription is free.
Subscribe Now

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster has signed into law House Bill 3126, which has implications for public and private employers that continue to require employees in South Carolina to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The law prohibits public employers in the State of South Carolina from requiring that individuals be vaccinated as a condition of employment. Similarly, schools within the state cannot require attendees to be vaccinated. Private employers in the state can mandate vaccination, but they must broadly allow for religious and medical exemptions (explained below).

The law prohibits places of public accommodation (such as restaurants, hotels, theaters, and concert halls) from requiring that patrons be vaccinated or provide proof of vaccination for entry.

Federal contractors are exempt from the requirements of the law.

The law also symbolically declares any federal vaccination mandate unconstitutional and unenforceable in the State of South Carolina.

Exemptions

Private employers that implement a vaccine mandate are required under the law to recognize religious and medical exemptions.

To claim a religious exemption, an individual need only "provide his [or her] employer with a short, plain statement" indicating the vaccination requirement violates a tenet of their deeply held religious conviction.

Medical exemptions can include the presence of antibodies, an earlier positive COVID-19 test result, or pregnancy. The law is silent on how long prior positive test results or antibodies tests can exempt employees from an employer's vaccine requirement.

Independent contractors, nonemployee vendors, and other third parties simply providing employers with goods and services must be excluded from an employer's vaccine mandate. The law also allows private employers to offer incentives to employees who elect to be vaccinated.

Unemployment Benefits

The law provides that employees who are terminated or suspended or who suffer a pay reduction for failing to comply with an employer's vaccination requirement are eligible for unemployment benefits.

COVID-19 Liability Immunity Act

The new law reenacts an earlier piece of legislation, the South Carolina COVID-19 Liability Immunity Act, passed in May 2021. The Act provides employers immunity from lawsuits claiming that their employees or patrons contracted COVID-19 in the workplace, as long as the employer is taking reasonable steps to follow public health guidance at the time.

Originally, the Act applied retroactively to claims filed between March 13, 2020, and June 30, 2021. The new law expands that period to December 31, 2023. (For more details on the COVID-19 Liability Immunity Act, see our articles, South Carolina Governor Signs COVID-19 Liability Immunity Act Into Law and South Carolina Senate Passes COVID-19 Liability Immunity Act.)


 

©2022 Jackson Lewis P.C. This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between Jackson Lewis and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material. This material may be considered attorney advertising in some jurisdictions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Focused on labor and employment law since 1958, Jackson Lewis P.C.'s 950+ attorneys located in major cities nationwide consistently identify and respond to new ways workplace law intersects business. We help employers develop proactive strategies, strong policies and business-oriented solutions to cultivate high-functioning workforces that are engaged, stable and diverse, and share our clients' goals to emphasize inclusivity and respect for the contribution of every employee. For more information, visit https://www.jacksonlewis.com.

ALM expressly disclaims any express or implied warranty regarding the OnPractice Content, including any implied warranty that the OnPractice Content is accurate, has been corrected or is otherwise free from errors.

More From Jackson Lewis P.C.

U.S. Supreme Court Deals Blow to California's Private Attorneys General Act

By Mia Farber Jackson Lewis P.C. June 15 , 2022

Bilateral arbitration agreements governed by the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) may require arbitration of California Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) claims on an individual basis only, the U.S. Supreme Court has held. Viking River Cruises, Inc. v. Moriana, No. 20-1573 (June 15, 2022).

Top Five Labor Law Developments for May 2022

By Jonathan J. Spitz Jackson Lewis P.C. June 15 , 2022

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) General Counsel’s office issued a memorandum reiterating the rights of immigrant workers under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Continuing its aggressive approach to expanding legal protections for workers and labor unions, the General Counsel’s office of the NLRB issued Memorandum OM 22-09, reiterating NLRB policy on workers’ rights to access the NLRB collective bargaining and remedial procedures regardless of immigration status, without fear of reprisals from their employers or the federal government.

Group Health Plan Considerations in the Face of (Potentially) Changing Abortion Laws

By Joy M. Napier-Joyce Jackson Lewis P.C. June 14 , 2022

On May 2, 2022, a draft opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health was leaked to the press, and as a result the Court is expected to overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, effectively leaving the issue of abortion rights to the states. Thirteen states currently have laws in place that will automatically ban at least some forms of abortion in their state if Roe v. Wade is overturned, and it is expected that thirteen or more additional states will quickly follow suit.

More From COVID-19

Workplace Safety Review: Episode 26 | Interview with Rod Harvey

By Michael T. Taylor Greenberg Traurig June 22 , 2022

In this episode, Mike Taylor and Adam Roseman talk to Rod Harvey, Director of Industrial Hygiene and Field Services for RHP Risk Management Inc.

In Viking River Cruises, US Supreme Court Sides With Employers: Individual PAGA Claims Are Arbitrable - For Now

By Timothy Long Greenberg Traurig June 17 , 2022

In a victory for California employers, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Viking River Cruises, Inc. v. Moriana that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) requires enforcement of arbitration agreements that waive an employee’s right to bring a Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) claim on a representative basis – requiring such claims be brought on an individual basis in arbitration. The Court further held that “PAGA provides no mechanism to enable a court to adjudicate non-individual PAGA claims once an individual claim has been committed to a separate [individual arbitration] proceeding.”

GT's The Performance Review Episode 16: Fit Fam: Lifting the Weight of California Privacy Laws (Part 2)

By Philip I. Person Greenberg Traurig June 15 , 2022

Join Philip Person and Ryan Bykerk as they discuss employee privacy with Lauren Green, internal counsel at global boutique fitness brand Barry’s Bootcamp.

Featured Stories
Closeclose
Search
Menu

Working...