Employees fired for not getting a COVID-19 vaccine to be compensated financially if Arizona bill becomes law

A measure aiming to protect workers fired from their jobs for not receiving the COVID-19 vaccine cleared its first hurdle in the Arizona House on Feb. 1. 

This means the bill to protect those who refused to get the vaccine under any exemption, medical, religious, or other qualifying circumstances, will move on to the next round. If passed, the bill would require employers to pay former employees' severance, or rehire them, if they were fired for not following a vaccine mandate.

More specifically, if passed, HB 2198, the Employees Compensation Bill, would mean an employer would pay the amount of the employee's annual salary in one lump sum or installments over 12 months. The other option is, the employee would be rehired for the same or similar position.

Some employers spoke out against the bill, but supporters and the sponsor of the bill say this is a step in the right direction.

"Exemptions and accommodations were supposed to be made according to the Civil Rights Act and Arizona’s own attorney general, so it is very disappointing businesses are ignoring individual rights of people and employees, and terminating as a small business owner, I wouldn’t do that. So, it is disheartening. We need the government to protect these people," says Arizona State Rep. Steve Kaiser.

"Arizona is an at-will state. Private businesses have the right to set policies for the workplace. Workplace environments, as you know, vary significantly and private businesses are in the best position to implement policy that best serve needs of employees and operations," said Courtney Coolidge with the Arizona Chamber of Commerce.

The bill now moves on to the full house floor, and the presentation will be in the next couple of weeks. 

Read more about the bill here.

Related Stories:

Tune in to FOX 10 Phoenix for the latest news: