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Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Appellate Court Vacates TRO that Stopped Enforcement of State Agency Vaccination Policy

An Illinois Appellate Court recently vacated a temporary restraining order (TRO) that a trial court granted to prohibit a number of state agencies from enforcing a workplace policy requiring their employees to undergo vaccination or testing for COVID-19. Glass v. Illinois Department of Corrections.

In September, the Illinois Governor issued an Executive Order requiring employees at state-owned or operated congregate facilities (those operated by the VA, DHS, Department of Corrections, and Department of Juvenile Justice) to be vaccinated. A number of state employees in these agencies objected to the vaccination requirement and filed a lawsuit to challenge it. Their lawsuit claims that the state lacked legal authority to require vaccinations, that the mandate violates the Health Care Right of Conscience Act, 745 ILCS 70/1 et seq., and that the mandate is discriminatory and violates public policy. 

In November, the employees filed a motion for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to stop enforcement of the mandate while their case proceeded. The state agencies argued that the Illinois Labor Relations Board had sole jurisdiction over the employees' claims and that the employees did not meet the TRO standards. The trial court granted a TRO to prohibit enforcement against some of the employees, and the state appealed that ruling to the Appellate Court.

The Appellate Court did not get into the substance of the challenge or the standards for a TRO, instead finding that the trial court did not have jurisdiction over the employees' challenge to the mandate as the ILRB has exclusive jurisdiction over claims of unfair labor practices. As a result, the TRO was vacated.


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