By Erica Thomas, Managing Editor

The Alabama legislature passed a bill protecting employees from being terminated from their jobs for not getting the COVID-19 vaccine, if they have religious or medical exemptions. Gov. Kay Ivey signed the bill into law but there is a mandatory form that must be filled out by employees seeking an exemption.

The statute reads, “An employer shall exempt vaccination as a condition of employment for any employee who has completed and submitted the exemption form described in subsection.”

The Alabama Center for Law and Liberty posted a link to the form on its website. ACLL Executive Director Matthew Clark said he thought it was important to do so since many people in Alabama are facing termination this week.

“I am in touch with people that are facing termination this week if they stand firm on their decision not to get vaccinated," Clark said. "The people that I'm trying to help out have religious and medical reasons not to get the vaccine."

The companies Clark's clients work for told the employees they were not going to work with them on their medical and/or religious concerns, according to Clark. Those employers' and employees' identifications can not be released at this time, due to attorney-client privilege.

"I encourage anyone that's facing termination this week to go ahead and submit that form to their employer because if they do that they can at least preserve their rights and they can come back with a waiver later on saying, 'I followed the law, I applied for religious exemption and my employer broke the law by firing me."

Clark said employers are supposed to provide the form to employees. The employee is then required to submit the completed form to the company.

Anyone denied an exemption may appeal to the Alabama Department of Labor. Instructions on how to file an appeal will be released within the next three weeks. SB9 states that employees laid off between now and then must receive compensation.

"I think what that means is that if the employer fires them before they can appeal, then they are still entitled to compensation from their employer," Clark added.