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U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Anti-Vaccine Case Appeal

    Client Alerts
  • March 22, 2024

On March 18, the U.S. Supreme Court denied petition for review of an appellate court decision addressing an important question for many employers. In Chancey v. BASF Corp., the Supreme Court declined review of a Fifth Circuit case brought by an employee who alleged that the employer's COVID-19 mitigation policies violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

While BASF did not mandate vaccinations, it required unvaccinated workers to observe protocols intended to avoid exposing other people to infection. In a somewhat novel legal theory, the plaintiff claimed that the employer regarded him as having an infectious disease and subjected him to discriminatory treatment in the form of the COVID-19 preventative measures. The Fifth Circuit concluded that unvaccinated status was not a disability as defined under the ADA.

The Supreme Court's denial of this appeal means that other federal appellate circuits are not required to adhere to the Fifth Circuit's decision, which covers Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. However, the denial may signal to other federal courts that the Supreme Court was not troubled enough by the lower court opinion to review its reasoning.

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