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Utah Life Sciences News & Events

LEGISLATIVE ALERT: HB60 and HB63 Could Pose Problems for Life Sciences Companies in Utah

February 17, 2022

In this year’s legislative session, two bills could be problematic for life sciences companies in Utah. HB60 prohibits employers from requiring proof of vaccination from employees or patrons. While it provides an exemption for federally regulated entities like hospitals, it does not provide an exemption for life sciences employees who interact with those institutions who are required by policy of the institution to be vaccinated to conduct business on premises. Requiring proof of vaccination from an employee working with a federally-regulated entity could result in a civil rights violation under this law.

HB63 is a revision of SB2004 from the Special Session of the legislature in November. In SB2004 employees are given a legal cause of action against an employer if an employer requires vaccination after the employee has provided a statement that on personal belief they refuse to be vaccinated. Exceptions were granted for companies under 15 employees and for re-assignment or termination (if reassignment is not practical) of employees whose job descriptions require vaccination because the employee interacts with institutions that legally require vaccinations. Violations of this law can result in employers being sued in court. HB65 reverses the exceptions negotiated in good faith with the sponsors of SB2004 and adds that natural immunity arising from contracting COVID is a valid substitute for vaccination.

BioUtah has been vocal about concerns these one-size-fits-all provisions present. Life Sciences companies would be disproportionately affected by these bills. Sponsors of HB65 seem to be receptive to input, but sponsors of HB60 have indicated businesses are creative and will just have to figure out how to comply. If you have concerns over these provisions, we welcome you contacting your legislators or sending your comments to us at BioUtah.