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Las Vegas police department to require COVID-19 vaccines for new hires

Lawyer talks legality of jobs requiring vaccines
Posted at 9:40 PM, Aug 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-20 02:40:31-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is joining a growing list of agencies and corporations requiring COVID-19 vaccines as a condition of employment.

On Thursday, a police department spokesperson told 13 Action News that all new hires at LVMPD, regardless of their position, need to be vaccinated.

As COVID vaccine requirements become more and more common, the terms of employment for companies are starting to change. But how much legal ground do these employers have?

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"There's a lot of really undefined issues here because this hasn't happened in 100 years," said Craig Mueller, an attorney with a law office in Las Vegas.

When it comes to the law, public health has traditionally been the responsibility of the states.

"This stuff gets very tangled, very quickly," said Mueller. "The government can have requirements for employment. Just like clubs have requirements to join their clubs -- the government can, in fact, have requirements."

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However, existing employees -- such as LVMPD officers already serving the city -- do not have to be vaccinated.

"A private organization or even a government organization as a condition of accepting employment, they're probably on pretty solid ground," he said.

"As a condition of keeping employment? That's probably a little dicier."

That's because the employer would be altering an existing contract.

MGM International is another employer requiring all salaried and new hires to get the vaccine. All employees not working from home must provide proof of vaccination by Oct. 15.

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Mueller says when it comes to corporations, it's not personal, it's just business.

"They're going to be dealing with a large number of the public," said Mueller. "And if the public has been scared witless and will not come unless they know everyone in their business has been vaccinated, they've got a pretty good argument that they can do that."

Mueller says that he expects the state and supreme courts to hear some history-making cases by the time this pandemic is over.

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