Federal employees would be allowed to sue the government for damages if they received a COVID vaccination as a result of President Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate and then suffered adverse effects under legislation introduced recently in the House of Representatives.
Congresswoman Diana Harshbarger (R-TN) has introduced the Protecting Americans’ Medical Rights Act (H.R. 6811) which would allow aggrieved individuals as defined under the legislation to sue the government for damages. She said it’s a situation that should have “never happened” but that anyone suffering harm should have the right to pursue legal action against the government.
“The Biden Administration’s unconstitutional mandates forced many Americans to choose between their job or getting vaccinated,” Harshbarger said in a statement about the bill. “While this is wrong and never should have happened, those forced into vaccination should have full rights to pursue legal action if they are injured. My bill — the Protecting Americans’ Medical Rights Act — is a step in the right direction towards holding this administration and our government accountable.”
According to the legislation, an “aggrieved individual” is anyone who “received or is required to receive a COVID–19 vaccine as a result of Executive Order 14042 or 14043 to prevent the termination, or any other adverse consequence, of the employment of the individual with a Federal agency, or as a condition of new employment.”
It also applies to individuals “who received a COVID– 19 vaccine as a result of a Federal agency requirement (or is required to do so by the individual’s employer acting pursuant to a Federal agency requirement) as a condition of new or continued employment…”
As far as the injuries one must experience to seek damages, the legislation defines these as “…any adverse health effects, reactions, and other adverse health consequences, including incapacity or wrongful death, resulting from COVID–19 vaccination.”
The legislation then states that any aggrieved individual or his/her survivors (in the event of the death of the aggrieved individual) can seek action against the government to seek “declaratory or injunctive relief and compensatory damages, including economic and noneconomic damages, for injuries sustained by the aggrieved individual as a result of receiving a COVID–19 vaccine.”
The legislation also adds that aggrieved individuals may be awarded attorney’s fees by the court if they win their case.
Federal Employee Vaccine Mandate Injunction
Enforcement of President Biden’s vaccine mandate is currently suspended as a result of a recent court injunction which ruled that the president overstepped his authority by issuing the mandate for the federal workforce. The Biden administration was appealing the decision though and it could ultimately end up before the Supreme Court.
As a result of the injunction, the Biden administration has halted enforcement of the federal employee vaccine mandate for now while it works its way through the courts. However, enforcement of other COVID safety protocols are still in effect, and federal agencies have been instructed to enforce disciplinary action against federal employees who violate other COVID safety protocols based on their vaccination status such as wearing masks or keeping their distance from co-workers.