IDOC Employees Sue Over State Covid Testing, Vaccine Mandate

By Benjamin Cox on April 15, 2022 at 6:00am

46 Employees of the Illinois Department of Corrections from 18 separate correctional facilities are suing the state over Covid-19 testing and vaccination mandates.

A lawsuit filed in Christian County Circuit Court requests a temporary restraining order. Attorney Thomas DeVore contends in the filing that under Illinois law, “an individual may refuse to receive vaccines, medications or other treatments.” It also says that the individuals named in the lawsuit that employees must receive due process from their local health departments to be mandated to test or receive the vaccine as a public health risk.

The Center Square reports that the Department of Corrections was one of the last holdouts of state employees’ requirements to be vaccinated as a condition of employment last Fall. Governor J.B. Pritzker and unions negotiated through interest arbitration and in December agreed IDOC employees should be mandated to get the vaccine.

The lawsuit contends that the employees represent in the suit were not a part of those negotiations. Jacksonville Correctional Center and Western Illinois Correctional Center in Mt. Sterling are among the 18 facilities that have employees represented in the suit.

Fourth District Appellate Court Justice Peter Cavanaugh may have already dealt the suit a crucial blow of any type of success yesterday ruling that employers whether public or private can mandate testing and vaccination to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. Cavanaugh cited in his opinion the recently-passed General Assembly amendment that it was not a violation of the Right of Conscience Act for any employer to take measures calculated to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The opinion was in regard to three other separate cases similar to the Christian County case.

A hearing is set today.