Florida Senate - 2022                                     SB 594
       By Senator Perry
       8-00449B-22                                            2022594__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to discrimination on the basis of
    3         COVID-19 vaccination or postinfection recovery status;
    4         amending s. 381.00316, F.S.; prohibiting governmental
    5         entities from requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination
    6         or postinfection recovery status as a condition of
    7         licensure or certification in this state; providing a
    8         right of action for certain aggrieved persons;
    9         providing for equitable relief, damages, and attorney
   10         fees; creating s. 381.00317, F.S.; defining the terms
   11         “COVID-19 vaccine” and “employer”; prohibiting
   12         employers from requiring COVID-19 vaccination or proof
   13         of COVID-19 vaccination or postinfection recovery as a
   14         condition of employment, promotion, or continued
   15         employment or from discriminating against employees on
   16         the basis of such status unless certain conditions are
   17         met; providing an exception; providing a right of
   18         action for aggrieved persons; providing for equitable
   19         relief, damages, and attorney fees; providing an
   20         effective date.
   22  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   24         Section 1. Present subsections (4), (5), and (6) of section
   25  381.00316, Florida Statutes, are redesignated as subsections
   26  (5), (6), and (7), respectively, a new subsection (4) is added
   27  to that section, and subsection (2) of that section is amended,
   28  to read:
   29         381.00316 COVID-19 vaccine documentation.—
   30         (2) A governmental entity as defined in s. 768.38 may not
   31  require persons to provide any documentation certifying COVID-19
   32  vaccination or postinfection recovery to gain access to, entry
   33  upon, or service from the governmental entity’s operations in
   34  this state or as a condition of licensure or certification in
   35  this state. This subsection does not otherwise restrict
   36  governmental entities from instituting screening protocols
   37  consistent with authoritative or controlling government-issued
   38  guidance to protect public health.
   39         (4)Any person found to have been aggrieved by a violation
   40  of this section has a right of action in circuit court for
   41  injunctive or other equitable relief and is entitled to recover
   42  damages and reasonable attorney fees for each violation.
   43         Section 2. Section 381.00317, Florida Statutes, is created
   44  to read:
   45         381.00317 COVID-19 vaccination requirement as condition of
   46  employment prohibited; exceptions; right of action.—
   47         (1)As used in this section, the term:
   48         (a)“COVID-19 vaccine” means an immunization product
   49  approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration to
   50  protect persons against infection of COVID-19. Unless specified
   51  otherwise, the term also includes immunization products approved
   52  only for emergency use.
   53         (b)“Employer” means any person, firm, partnership,
   54  institution, corporation, association or other entity that
   55  hires, contracts with, or otherwise employs persons for services
   56  performed in exchange for wages or other remuneration. The term
   57  includes, but is not limited to, business entities, educational
   58  institutions, and governmental entities as those terms are
   59  defined in s. 768.38.
   60         (2)An employer may not require a person to receive a
   61  COVID-19 vaccine or provide documentation certifying COVID-19
   62  vaccination or postinfection recovery as a condition of
   63  employment, promotion, or continued employment or otherwise
   64  discriminate against a person, with respect to compensation,
   65  classification, professional status, tenure, terms, conditions,
   66  or privileges of employment or any other differential treatment
   67  that would adversely affect the person’s employment status or
   68  opportunities, on the basis of the person’s COVID-19 vaccination
   69  or postinfection recovery status or failure to provide proof of
   70  such status, unless all of the following conditions have been
   71  met:
   72         (a)The COVID-19 vaccine has been fully licensed and
   73  approved for use, excluding emergency use authorization, by the
   74  United States Food and Drug Administration and is available to
   75  consumers.
   76         (b)The COVID-19 vaccine has been clinically evaluated for
   77  its long-term potential to cause cancer, impair fertility,
   78  mutate genes, and cause autoimmune, neurological, or any other
   79  chronic or serious adverse effects.
   80         (c)The pivotal clinical trial relied upon by the United
   81  States Food and Drug Administration for approval of the COVID-19
   82  vaccine has been evaluated for its safety for at least 3 years
   83  after the vaccine was administered using a randomized double
   84  blind control group that received either:
   85         1.A true placebo; or
   86         2.Another vaccine product approved by the United States
   87  Food and Drug Administration based on a pivotal randomized,
   88  controlled clinical trial that evaluated the safety of that
   89  vaccine product using a control group that received a true
   90  placebo.
   91         (d)Published, peer-reviewed studies have been completed to
   92  determine which injuries and health conditions may be caused by
   93  the COVID-19 vaccine if administered alone or with other
   94  vaccines over the short, medium, and long terms.
   95         (e)The risk of permanent disability and death from the
   96  COVID-19 vaccine has been proven by clear and convincing
   97  evidence to be less than that caused by the disease it is
   98  intended to prevent, based on the person’s age and demographic
   99  group.
  100         (f)The infection targeted by the COVID-19 vaccine is
  101  highly transmissible in public settings, and there are no
  102  available:
  103         1.Reasonable nonpharmaceutical interventions capable of
  104  reducing the risk of the spread of the targeted infection;
  105         2.Effective nutrient or drug treatments to reduce the risk
  106  of infection; or
  107         3.Effective nutrient or drug treatments to reduce the risk
  108  of severe disease or mortality as a result of the infection.
  109         (g)The infection targeted by the COVID-19 vaccine poses a
  110  grave health risk to the specific population being required to
  111  receive it.
  112         (h)The COVID-19 vaccine has been proven by clear and
  113  convincing evidence to prevent person-to-person transmission of
  114  the targeted infection.
  115         (3)Notwithstanding subsection (2), a person may not be
  116  required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine under this section if he
  117  or she objects, in writing, on grounds that receiving the
  118  vaccines used to prevent SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 conflicts with
  119  his or her moral, ethical, religious, or philosophical beliefs.
  120  Such person is entitled to all of the rights and protections
  121  provided herein.
  122         (4)Any person found to be aggrieved by a violation of this
  123  section has a right of action in circuit court for injunctive or
  124  other equitable relief and is entitled to recover damages and
  125  reasonable attorney fees for each violation.
  126         Section 3. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.