Kansas City employment attorney talks COVID-19 vaccine mandate executive orders

Stacy Bunck.png
Posted at 11:07 PM, Sep 09, 2021

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Some of the Kansas City area's largest employers – including the Federal Reserve and the IRS – will be affected by President Joe Biden's announcement of COVID-19 vaccine mandates for federal employees and federal government contractors.

"We remain at a critical moment a critical time, we have the tools now we just have to finish the job," Biden said Thursday in an address to the nation, as he detailed one of the most stringent executive orders to fight COVID-19 since he took office.

Biden said the six-pronged approach is the best way to combat COVID-19 in the fall.

The order also directed mandates for private employers with 100 or more workers – or employees can submit to a weekly COVID-19 test.

Employment attorney Stacy Bunck told KSHB 41 News that OSHA will now develop an emergency temporary standard, or ETS.

"What an ETS is, effectively OSHA is empowered to enact an emergency standard both at the public level – so for federal employees – but also for private employees," Bunck said.

An ETS is rare, she said, as there only have been nine issued. The most recent was in the 1980s, and they can find their way into a court battle.

"At least half of them, or close to half of them, have been struck down," Bunck said. "I fully expect there'll be groups that will come and strike this down. We are really at the early stages of this."

IRS employee Nicholas Ibarra said the news comes as a relief.

"Though you hear the breakthrough cases, but the vaccines are 100% against death and that’s fine with me," Ibarra said.

Alyssa Ludeman, another IRS employee, said she would "like to feel safer with everyone vaccinated."

Bunck urged those thinking about quitting their jobs because of the mandate to wait until they receive a directive from their HR team, as there's a lot still pending.