A joint Senate panel, led by Republican chairs, highlighted cases where state employees said their health privacy rights were violated and they had been subject to discrimination over their decision not to share their vaccination status or undergo workplace testing.
The discussion came as the state continued to track a surge in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths, reported predominantly in unvaccinated people. And in some regions, hospitals reported that they’d run out of intensive care unit beds available.
“I don’t understand how the unions have not taken a stronger position or that we don’t recognize that we now have a government-sponsored harassment of great employees,” Sen. Mark Koran, R-North Branch, said.
The examples of those who refused the new policy represent a small fraction of the pool of employees who became subject to the new rule last month. The vast majority of the state’s more than 26,000 in-person workers, including University of Minnesota and Minnesota State University system professors and staff, agreed to the terms that took effect starting Sept. 8, Minnesota Management and Budget Deputy Commissioner Kristin Batson said.