Link To Guest Website:

Title: “Can Employers Require Vaccines?”
Guest: Mark Furman – Tarlow Breed Hart & Rodgers
Interviewer: Jeffrey Davis – MAGE LLC

Click here to read the transcript

Jeffrey (1s):
Well, here we are, again, streaming stories of entrepreneurship, business and leadership on Radio Entrepreneurs. We’ve been doing this for over seven years now, constantly as the economy has been changing, how people have been adapting. We like to think of ourselves as very current with what people are doing. And since the beginning we’ve always had to speak with and learn from Mark Furman, attorney and partner at the law firm of Tarlow Breed, Hart, and Rodgers. Welcome back, Mark.

1 (29s):
Great to be with you was hoping to talk about a hot topic today in the news and in the legal world. And that’s of course, the subject of vaccinations and whether employers can, and if they can, should they require mandatory vaccinations and there’s like everything else in this country. It’s like a, seems like a huge politically polarizing issue. But in general, I think if you’re a private employer, you can legally require Vaccines, mandatory vaccination.

1 (1m 13s):
However, I mean, there are a couple of exceptions, one, the so-called religious exemption exception, and the other is for certain people it’s unsafe for them to be vaccinated due to a medical condition. So what is going on here in Massachusetts? You know, the state came up with a mandatory vaccine policy. There have been lawsuits filed by unions seeking to enjoying those policies from going into effect and private employers are just, and entrepreneurs are just trying to figure out what’s the best thing for them to make sure that their people, their employees, their customers are safe.

1 (2m 10s):
And how do you go about doing that? Well, you know, given our historical interest in individual freedom in this country, and we also have as an overlay, really, a difficulty that employers are finding in hiring right now. So all this stuff has to be weighed by the business owner and figuring out what’s the right policy for them. And also relevant is how extensive is remote work still. You know, it’s one thing, you know, in our firm, everybody’s working, we’re open for business, but there’s no mandatory requirement that people in the office a particular number of days, as long as they’re doing their work wherever they can do with.

1 (3m 9s):
So, you know, getting back to mandatory vaccinations, if you have a employee who can effectively work remotely, oh, you’re just, you know, a policy is not going to affect them because you could say, you know, you can’t be in the office, but you can work remotely and participate by zoom. But if someone can’t work remotely, now you get into the question of, and you have mandatory vaccination policy. Can you terminate, can you suspend them without pay what?

1 (3m 50s):
And that’s where you get into this conflict between, you know, the individual rights of an employee versus the needs of, of the company. So complicated. And it’s very political. It seems like two.

Jeffrey (4m 11s):
Well, you know, you really went down the continuum, you know, and I I’ll make a couple of thoughts and then I’ll let you go again. You know, the whole thing you mentioned about labor, you know, if you’re negotiating on behalf of a labor group and you have 10, 15% of your workforce, doesn’t want to be told what to do, the person who’s doing, the negotiating is in a, quite a good position advantageous to their position. They have to argue it. Even if they think that they’re going to lose it. And no one employer, especially private companies wants to see a strike. They don’t want to have a problem. They don’t want the legal process that gets very expensive. So is a pro, even though there’s a law, there’s a prohibitive thing. And then I think, you know, as you went down the continuum and you talked about people working at your firm, you see what happened at price Waterhouse Coopers about three weeks ago where they said, there’s no requirement for anyone to work in the office anymore.

Jeffrey (5m 1s):
Pricewaterhouse has a lot of overhead. I see that as a total recruiting strategy and cultural strategy here, they are out there competing with the top PR firms. And they’re able to say, if you work for us, just get your work done. And you work where you want to work. There’s implications for culture competitiveness, how it affects the rest of the rest of us again. So I think there’s just so much going on and to just look at it from the laws and enough, there are all these implications of, if you want to challenge your employer, nobody wants to get into a big legal mess, not not employees and not Employers right now.

1 (5m 39s):
That’s true. And in that regard, I’ve got on my usual soapbox and say, if you’re a business owner, please, please, please, please, please consider employment practices, liability insurance. Even if it, they certainly don’t cover everything, but they’re very reasonably priced. And the protection potentially on defense costs is huge. And it’s worth, it’s worth looking into that. You know, we had a longtime employee, it was a paralegal still isn’t employed Craig, Great To colleague, a paralegal who moved to Florida, I would say 10 or 12 years ago.

1 (6m 33s):
And she has been working remotely for decades and it’s been seamless and silly me not understanding the potential broader implications for that for our firm, which as you know, was principally a regional firm and to have, you know, what technology allows you to do. And, and she participates has participated in department meetings by zoom, walking down the hall passing, and there’s a department meeting and a conference room and she waves to make, you know, and she’s been great.

1 (7m 23s):
So this has really been a teaching moment and it’s an opportunity. I think you hit the nail on the head Jeffrey with, it’s a great opportunity for recruiting, for recruiting top quality people who can, if you’re flexible, given the labor market, I think that’s really important. Now I do have a challenge next week because we’ve hired a young lawyer in my practice area. As you know, I handled a lot of disputes between companies disputes, between partners and, you know, he’s just a few years out of school and the onboarding process, the mentoring process, the connecting someone to the culture of the firm and developing relationships, not just with the people that he’s going to be working with every day, but the broader affirm community as well.

1 (8m 32s):
That’s the challenge, I think with the strategy like Pricewater else’s strategy. And, but you know, we’ve gone through what two fold tax seasons now for CPAs where hardly no one’s been in the office and they’ve been able to do the work. And, you know, I was thinking yesterday, can you imagine what the implications of the pandemic would have been to the economy if there wasn’t technology, what the implications would be for service providers, whether you’re consulting with businesses or providing services as an accountant or a lawyer.

1 (9m 25s):
I mean, if, if, I mean our economy would have been so devastated, but for technology,

Jeffrey (9m 35s):
You know, I, I moved out of my office about eight years ago and you know, my partner wondered if I was looking to retire when I did that. And I have always been moving towards virtual and I’m not a big fan of the old, you know, brick and mortar. I believe more in content. And I think zoom for me has been great because I do, I’ve done at least 40 team-building strategy sessions, seminars since the beginning of COVID. And I would say they’re as effective as they’ve ever been because the design has been designed correctly. If I didn’t design it correctly, it wouldn’t make a difference if I was in person or not in person. And I think it’s that way probably with your depositions, you have to ask the right questions.

Jeffrey (10m 17s):
So I really more focused on content and the fact that I can work from home and have a little bit more free time for myself has made, has made my life a little bit more peaceful at times. So I think, you know, you have to adapt. I do like being in person too. I still do some in-person stuff every week, but I like the flexibility that I now have that I didn’t have a couple of years ago.

1 (10m 40s):
I, I enjoy that too. When talking about needing to adapt, there’s a magician that we’ve had at the firm a few times, pre pandemic and post pandemic. And he had a completely change his magic show to accommodate the pandemic and, and the zoom. And we’ve had them twice during a pandemic as fabulous, but he was able to figure out how to do it in a completely new environment.

1 (11m 20s):
And, and I think that’s what we’ve all had to do. When a course business owners are no strangers to having to adapt to change because the only constant is change. And if you don’t adapt, your business dies. So you, you always have to be willing to change to meet the new, the new economic realities that you faced. And the new challenges look at all the challenges there are today with supply chain issues. And it’s really unbelievable how nimble business owners need to be.

1 (12m 5s):
And then it’s also exciting because it creates a new opportunity for, you know, we’re no longer constrained in the same where we previously were geographically

Jeffrey (12m 21s):
Business owners understand the law of the jungle entrepreneurship, adapting to what’s going on, the conditions that go around them. You can’t predict the PR conditions, but you can adapt to them quickly. Mark, if someone were looking for more insight into these areas, the labor practices, employment contracts, op, how would they find you with Tarlow Breed, Hart and Rodgers? Yeah,

1 (12m 43s):
I can be reached at 6 1 7 2 1 8 2 0 2 5. That’s my direct or my email is M Ferman, F U R M a

Jeffrey (12m 60s):
Thank you, mark. And remind everybody, this is Radio Entrepreneurs and we will continue to stay on top of what trends entrepreneurs are doing in this economy. Stay tuned for more stories.

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