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Business potentially stopping vaccine mandates with new order

State, federal law conflicting for Tennessee businesses
Published: Nov. 19, 2021 at 6:37 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - With a stay of execution on Biden’s federal vaccine mandate, a Knoxville attorney said it puts local businesses who have a mandate in a tight spot. This is because there are conflicting laws on the state and federal levels.

Current state law doesn’t allow for mask or vaccine mandates unless a business files for an exemption. A law professor at LMU, Stewart Harris, said businesses could be hurt later on if they follow the state law, though.

Harris said, “If you don’t enforce the federal mandate, you probably won’t be penalized right now because the Biden Administration can’t enforce it right now but maybe penalized when the stay is lifted or if it is lifted.”

As of Friday, the Fifth Circuit Court issued a stay of execution on Biden’s mandate meaning it’s still in writing, but can not be enforced.

If businesses continue to enforce the federal mandate on their own, Harris said businesses could face punishment on the state level. Harris said there isn’t any advice he can give to businesses considering a vaccine mandate right now.

“What do you do? You’re an honest business person who wants to follow the law. You’ve got two conflicting laws. You don’t know which one to obey. You should do a risk assessment.”

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