The federal government and President Biden’s orders have made their way to Lehi. Earlier this month, Lehi City began notifying employees requesting compliance with the vaccine mandate issued by President Biden through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The order mandates that business with 100 employees or more require staff to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to weekly testing and face mask requirements.
“Lehi City has started informing employees of the federal mandate and instructed them to prepare for the vaccination requirements that will take effect in January,” said Assistant City Administrator, Cameron Boyle.
The order is set to begin January 4, 2022, but has been put on hold by the courts. The 5th Circuit Court also upheld an appeal last week, deeming the order unconstitutional.
In addition to being held in the courts, Utah has also sued the Federal Government to prevent the order, with the backing of Attorney General Sean Reyes (R) and Governor Spencer Cox (R).
“We understand that there is currently a stay on the executive order, but we feel it is our responsibility to prepare for the mandate in the event that the stay is lifted, and the mandate is deemed to be constitutional. Because each violation comes with a $14,000 fine, we feel it is our responsibility to protect taxpayer dollars and comply with the order,” said Boyle in defending the city’s stance on the mandate.
During last week’s special session in the Utah Legislature, lawmakers passed a bill allowing employees to opt-out of the vaccine mandate for medical, religious or “sincerely held personal beliefs.” The bill was passed by the Utah House and Senate and is now on Governor Cox’s desk for signature. Cox has stated he will sign the bill into law.
“We need to respect the rights of employees to make medical decisions that are best for them and their families,” said bill sponsor, Senator Kirk Cullimore (R).
Lehi City plans to comply with the mandate but said employees would not face termination if they chose not to receive the vaccine.
“We are not terminating employees who will not get vaccinated. Employees who do not get vaccinated and choose not to follow the testing requirement may be subject to progressive disciplinary action,” said Boyle.
“I don’t agree that across the board mandates are an appropriate way to solve the problem. We’re working with our state representatives and watching the district court’s outcome. We believe that employees have the agency to make decisions on their own and we have provided a means for them to do that, but that comes with responsibility,” said Mayor Mark Johnson when reached for comment.