My employees were heroes last year, now COVID-19 mandate might force them out of a job - USA Today

My employees were heroes last year, now COVID-19 mandate might force them out of a job – USA Today

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The following op-ed by Brandon Trosclair first appeared on November 10, 2021 on usatoday.com.

Americans shouldn’t have the government forcing them to choose between their jobs and making what they believe is the right decision for their health.

As the second-generation owner of a modestly sized grocery chain in Louisiana, I’m grateful to be living the American dream. That dream took on new meaning last year when supermarket workers across our country were hailed as heroes and essential workers for showing up to their jobs to serve customers every day in the face of a scary, unknown virus.

I am humbled to employ hundreds of these heroes. It is no small thing for me to be able to help their families live out their own versions of the American dream. But now I am faced with an incomprehensible choice imposed upon me by the federal government: Force these workers, whose dedication and skills have fueled my business’ success, to take a COVID-19 vaccine, submit to weekly testing at either my or their expense – or show them the door.

I simply will not do it. It’s immoral. It’s infeasible. And it’s illegal. Which is why I have asked a national law firm, the Liberty Justice Center, and the Louisiana-based Pelican Institute for Public Policy to sue the federal government on my behalf.

We’ve already secured an early victory from the federal court of appeals, which issued an emergency order Saturday suspending the mandate nationwide while we fully argue our case.

I simply will not do it. It’s immoral. It’s infeasible. And it’s illegal. Which is why I have asked a national law firm, the Liberty Justice Center, and the Louisiana-based Pelican Institute for Public Policy to sue the federal government on my behalf.

We’ve already secured an early victory from the federal court of appeals, which issued an emergency order Saturday suspending the mandate nationwide while we fully argue our case.

It is outrageous for the Biden administration to order my employees – these heroes of the community – to take a vaccine that, for whatever deeply personal reason, including that they have already had COVID-19 and are immune, they have decided they do not want. Hear me: I am not anti-vaccine. I am anti-mandate.

The rare attempts by presidents over the past 50 years to use the emergency powers granted under law to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have been squashed by the courts numerous times. The emergency provisions were written to protect workers from the “grave danger” of toxic chemicals and other hazards in the workplace, not dangers found in society at large.

The emergency powers in the law clearly do not refer to viruses like COVID-19, and do not sanction using employees’ own jobs to effectively blackmail them regarding their private, individual health care decisions made outside of work, often in consultation with their doctors.

COVID-19 is not a license for tyranny

My dedicated, hardworking employees have changed a lot of what they do to make sure our customers safely get their food. Far from taking this disease lightly, we in the supermarket business know firsthand that the COVID-19 pandemic is a very serious global public health problem – but we also know this doesn’t make it a license for tyranny. It doesn’t empower the executive branch to defy the U.S. Constitution by weaponizing the federal regulatory apparatus.

American workers shouldn’t have the government forcing them to choose between keeping their jobs and making what, after informed consideration, they believe is the right decision for their health.

The American dream isn’t just about a good job with which you can give your family a good life. It’s also about the individual freedoms that so much of the rest of the world doesn’t have.

As a business leader in my community and the head of our company, I must fight against this administration’s misguided attempts to take those dreams away.

Brandon Trosclair is a second-generation owner of a grocery chain in Louisiana. He is being represented by the Liberty Justice Center and the Pelican Institute for Public Policy in their lawsuit, BST Holdings, LLC v. OSHA.

Read the article on usatoday.com.

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