TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblywoman Beth Sawyer introduced a bill Monday that would prohibit discrimination against some workers who have not received the Covid-19 shots and boosters.
Sawyer’s bill would protect unvaccinated corrections officers, first responders and health care workers against discrimination based on their personal medical choice. The bill further states that these workers cannot be asked to disclose their shot and booster status or forced to show proof of vaccination, inside and outside work.
Violators would be liable for $25,000 in civil damages and attorney’s fees.
“These critical workers were deemed heroes at the beginning of the pandemic,” Sawyer (R-Gloucester) said. “No one questioned their fundamental right to make their own medical choices then. Now they are being demonized and threatened with firing. This is not how we treat heroes in New Jersey!”
Gov. Phil Murphy on Jan. 19 issued executive order 283, mandating that health care workers and those in “high-risk congregate settings” be fully vaccinated by the end of March or sooner or be fired. The order also ended the once- or twice-weekly testing option.
The state corrections officers union has asked the state appellate division for permission to file a restraining order against the mandate.
“We know vaccinated people get infected and spread Covid. Discriminating against unvaccinated persons is illogical and plain wrong,” Sawyer added. “Mandates and the bullying to comply have created an “us” and “them” environment, to the detriment of us all. I hope my bill will give some people pause, and our valued health care workers, first responders and corrections officers some peace.”