TALLAHASSEE — On Nov. 18, Governor Ron DeSantis was joined by State Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo, Attorney General Ashley Moody, Florida Speaker Chris Sprowls and Senate President Wilton Simpson to sign legislation that protects Floridians from losing their jobs due to COVID-19 vaccine mandates and protect parents’ rights to make healthcare decisions for students. The bills were passed through a Special Session of the Florida Legislature and the corresponding laws are effective immediately. The forms to file exemptions can be found on www.floridahealth.gov.
Private employers are prohibited from mandating COVID-19 vaccines for employees without opportunity for the employees to obtain an exemption. Florida employees can choose to be exempt from private employer vaccine mandates for:
• Medical exemption from COVID-19 Vaccination
• Religious exemption from COVID-19 Vaccination
• Exemption from COVID-19 Vaccination based on COVID-19 immunity
• Exemption from COVID-19 Vaccination based on periodic testing
• Exemption from COVID-19 Vaccination based on employer-provided personal protective equipment
Specifically, in regards to employers’ COVID-19 vaccination mandates, the Department of Health is working alongside the Attorney General to oversee compliance with these laws.
If an employer does not accept an employee’s properly completed exemption form, violations can be reported to the Attorney General. The Attorney General has the authority to impose fines for such violations:
• Up to $10,000 for private entities employing less than 100 people
• Up to $50,000 for private entities employing 100 people or more
Public employers, including educational or governmental institutions, are prohibited from imposing COVID-19 vaccination mandates. Violations for public employers can be reported to the Florida Department of Health through VaxPassFreeFL@FLHealth.gov.
“The mission of this special session was to ensure that the law reflects the values of liberty in our state,” said Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo. “Floridians are now protected in their jobs, at school and as parents to choose how to protect themselves from COVID-19. If you are aware of a violation, we encourage you to report it to the appropriate entity – either through Department of Health or the Office of the Attorney General.”