MGM Resorts salaried workers who are not working from home have until October 15, 2021, to become fully vaccinated against COVID-19. If they don’t, their jobs are at stake.
Bill Hornbuckle, president and CEO of MGM Resorts, addressed company employees regarding the new vaccination protocols in a later today. The chief executive of Nevada’s largest employer says that COVID-19 vaccination will become a condition of employment for all salaried workers and new salary or hourly employees hired on or after August 30.
The mandate applies to all MGM properties in the United States. However, MGM workers of all types who predominantly work from home are excluded from the vaccination mandate.
I know that for some of you this may be an unwelcome development — a consideration that we did not take lightly when making this decision,” Hornbuckle wrote to employees. “However, as one of the largest and most trusted operators and employers in our industry, MGM Resorts is determined to do our part to curb the spread of the virus and help counter alarming trends in cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
“Vaccination is the most effective tool in doing so,” Hornbuckle declared.
MGM Resorts employees in Southern Nevada have easy access to COVID-19 vaccines, as the company is regularly holding pop-up clinics on-site at its Las Vegas properties. The vaccines are being offered free of charge by MGM. Along with workers, employees’ families, entertainers, and staffers of third-party vendors can receive free COVID-19 shots.
Brian Ahern, director of media relations for MGM Resorts, told Casino.org that the objective is to vaccinate as many people as possible. He adds that MGM is considering extending the mandate to current hourly workers.
“Our goal is to get as many people vaccinated as possible. We’re continuing to explore a variety of ways to do that, including expanding vaccination requirements among our workforce.
This is an incredibly complex situation and we’re examining how expanded policies would potentially work and be implemented,” Ahern added.
Hourly MGM workers employed before August 30 who choose not to become vaccinated must regularly undergo COVID-19 testing. Such employees can pay $15 for on-site tests, or bring in a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.
Vaccine Mandate Legality
A common question being posed on social media regarding MGM Resorts’ latest vax policy is regarding workers’ rights when it comes to refusing the vaccine. Legal experts say the majority of states would not provide unemployment benefits to a person who was fired from their job for not complying with COVID-19 policies.
“Most states would find the employee is disqualified from benefits if they are fired for refusing a vaccination,” said Anne Paxton of the Unemployment Law Project, a nonprofit that provides free legal representation in Washington State.
The US Justice Department wrote in an opinion last month that businesses indeed may lawfully require employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
“American employment law is very deferential to employers, which are able to exert a lot of control over workers,” Jeffrey Hirsch, a law professor at the University of North Carolina, told USA TODAY. “The COVID vaccine is just one example. While it’s obviously a politically charged one, it’s really no different in substance from a large number of others that have existed for a very long time.”
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