A bill introduced in South Carolina this week would make it illegal for an employer to ask for an employee’s vaccination status. Whereas currently, some South Carolina employers can and do demand to know whether their employees are vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine or not, this bill would classify doing so as a misdemeanor, with fines up to $14,000 or a year in jail.
The United States Supreme Court recently ruled that Biden’s vaccine mandate, which demanded that all companies with 100 employees or more terminate unvaccinated employees, is unconstitutional. However, numerous private businesses in South Carolina currently enforce their own vaccine mandates.
This bill, sponsored by Rep. Mike Burns, would designate an individual’s vaccine status as private medical information. Employers, businesses, non-profits, and public entities would no longer be able to request it.
"I'm your employer, and I asked you if you're pregnant, I can't do that," said Burns. "I can't ask you if you're thinking about getting pregnant. I can't ask you if you got STDs or HIV. I can't ask any of those private medical questions, but somehow it's alright to terminate people's employment because I didn't take this emergency-use-only vaccine. This is ridiculous."
Burns noted that these employers implement harsh discriminatory policies against employees who are not vaccinated, going so far as to terminate them unless they get injected.
Those who are unvaccinated also face discrimination from insurance companies, which would also be banned under the new law.
"We also have people who are having their insurance rates put in a different category,” said Burns. They're charging up to an extra $100 a week more than the vaccinated people. It is absolutely insane to do this kind of thing."
Burns said that realistically, it is unlikely that this bill will be passed into law, but it's time someone took action.
Following the US Supreme Court’s ruling blocking federal vaccine mandates, the Biden administration pushed private employers to enforce their own vaccine mandates and segregate their employees between vaccinated and unvaccinated.