Alan Rupe Quoted by CBS News on State Changes to Unemployment Benefits in Response to Federal Vaccine Mandate

Wichita, Kan. (December 2, 2021) – Kansas City and Wichita Managing Partner Alan L. Rupe was recently quoted in a CBS News article about the recent trend of states amending their unemployment benefits laws to ensure that employees who quit their jobs due to workplace COVID-19 vaccine requirements can still collect unemployment benefits.  

The article notes that, in general, workers who quit or are fired for violating the terms and conditions of their employment are not eligible for unemployment benefits. However, in response to the Biden Administration's federal vaccine mandate - which is currently facing legal challenges - states such as Kansas, Florida, Iowa, and Tennessee have updated their unemployment insurance programs to allow workers to receive such benefits if they lose their job due to noncompliance with a workplace vaccine mandate.  

Mr. Rupe explained that these amendments are within the state's authority, telling CBS News, “The [OSHA] mandate is a matter of federal law and state unemployment is a matter of state law."  

Mr. Rupe further noted that the updated law "really doesn't undermine the mandate; it just provides unemployment insurance for those people who have been fired for reason of the mandate."

Mr. Rupe is vice-chair of Lewis Brisbois' Labor & Employment Practice and an experienced trial lawyer who is consistently recognized for excellence by local, state, national, and international rankings organizations. His practice embraces every aspect of employment law, from day-to-day counseling and training to administrative agency proceedings, civil litigation, and trials. He has litigated several landmark employment cases, including handling the first Title VII jury trial and the first RICO case in Kansas.

You can read the full CBS News article here.  

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