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tv   Washington Journal Daniel Suhr  CSPAN  November 1, 2021 1:20pm-1:31pm EDT

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>> the u.s. house is in today. legislative work starts at 2 p.m. eastern. this afternoon members are expected to work on several bills addressing native american issues. any requested votes will take place after 6:30 eastern today. also negotiations continue on president biden's social spending package. you can see lawmakers take up that bill and the senate passed $1.2 trillion infrastructure measure later this week. when the house returns watch live coverage here on c-span. again starting at 2 p.m. eastern
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today. this afternoon arkansas senator john boozman will talk about the 2022 midterm elections during an event hosted by "the washington post." we'll have that live for you starting at 1:30 eastern. conti. host: a conversation on workplace vaccine mandates now with daniel suhr. he serves as managing attorney at the liberty justice center. start by explaining what the liberty justice center does and how you do it. guest: good morning. we are online at libertyjusticecenter dot or. we fight to protect constitutional rights in the birdies. right now we focus on worker freedom and protecting parents' rights in education. we are a nonprofit organization. we do what we do for our clients for free. you can find us online.
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host: how? do you pick your clients -- how do you pick your clients? guest: we have generous donors who support our work and our clients often come to us. they are americans who otherwise may be could not afford legal representation but find themselves in a tough spot. it is our honor to represent them. other times we reach out and partner with clients because we believe something the government is doing is illegal. in those cases, we are proud to represent our clients and push back on government overreach. host: what should viewers know about the vaccination mandates for nurses at riverside health care in illinois? host: -- guest: one of my cases is on behalf of 57 health care employees. these nurses have been heroes in
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this pandemic. they have been on the front lines every day taking care of patients, serving people. unfortunately, riverside is willing to throw all of that to the side because these employees, these nurses, will not compromise their convictions. it is not just wrong. it is illegal. the law protects the rights of these nurses to continue in their job serving their patients while at the same time holding to their faith. host: what is the status of that case? guest: the judge gave us a temporary restraining order protecting these employees and their jobs. we are going to continue litigating in the coming months, but today they can all show up at work the day after the october 31 termination deadline. my clients will still be at work because the law protects them and their right to hold onto
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their religious beliefs and show up for their job. host: what should viewers know about the illinois health care right of conscience act? guest: it reflects this important principle not just for illinois but for every american that our law protects the right of the individual to make important health care choices for themselves in line with their religious or moral convictions. the illinois law is one of a number of such laws across the country that protect people. in this instance, if employees do not have to choose between their faith and their work, but really for all of us as americans, many states have these protections so we are not coerced into making these kinds of decisions that are really impossible decisions, trying to choose between something as important as our faith and our profession. host: the governor of illinois
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trying to amend that law and response to this lawsuit and other concerns about the mandate and the defense of those concerns, pointing to that act. a spokesperson saying that act was never intended to allow people to avoid public health guidance and jeopardize workplace safety during a global pandemic. the administration supports efforts to clarify the law so it is not being misinterpreted by fringe elements. guest: i think this law is especially important at times like this. the constitution does not take a vacation when we are in the midst of a pandemic. it is in the hardest moments that we need the protection of the law of the law the most. though my clients' believes mina -- might not be shared by the governor, they are their beliefs and they are sincerely held and deeply held. it is moments like this, when it
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is tough for our country, when we are in times of trial, that we need the law to protect us the most. when things are good, when your opinion is popular among the law is not important for you because everybody is on your side. it is when your opinions are unpopular, when we are in a time of trial, that we need the law most to protect each of us and our rights to make these choices. host: what happens in other states that do not have the law you are depending on in illinois to protect these nurses? guest: federal title vii is part of the civil rights act. it protects every employee against discrimination in a number of ways not racial discrimination, gender discrimination, but also religious discrimination. the federal agency responsible for administering title vii has put out generally good guidance for employers to say employees
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in any state have a religious or ethical objection to a covid-19 mandate, then employers need to respect the objection. if there are reasonable accommodations that are available -- we have all been living with some of these safety protocols. when we use those protocols we can keep people safe, achieve reasonable safety rules, and respect the right of employees in any workplace to hold onto their religious beliefs. host: daniel suhr with the liberty justice center. taking your phone calls on phone lines split as usual. -- sorry it is phone lines split differently than usual. employers can call in at (202) 748-8000. employees, (202) 748-8001.
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all others, it is (202) 748-8002 . we mentioned this story today to our viewers in our first segment. thousands of new york city firefighters, police officers, and other employees stand to lose their paychecks starting today for failing to comply with mayor bill de blasio's covid-19 and eight. the mayor's office said about 24,000 employees remain unvaccinated and are subject to the mandate. your thoughts on that deadline in new york? guest: these workers in new york have been the essential workers that we have been applauding for serving us through the hardest time to this pandemic. i think it is a shame that that service is just going to be discarded by the mayor, just tossed aside because these folks want to hold onto their individual right to choose.
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this is something that has always been fundamental to us as americans, that we hold onto our freedoms zealously, fiercely defensive of our freedoms. that includes our freedom to make these sorts of important choices between us and our dr. -- doctor without the government reaching into our lives, whether as citizens or employees. i think the fact that a lot of vaccinated employees are standing in solidarity with their unvaccinated colleagues represents a widespread american sentiment that even for people who are vaccinated they respect the rights of others to make a different choice and expect their government to respect that right as well. host: are you ok with vexing mandates if they include a weekly testing component -- vaccine mandates if they include a weekly testing component? guest: weekly testing helps protect people's right to choose
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but we need to move away from mandates overall. this should be about people's rights to make important choices for themselves in consultation with their doctors or faith community but not have employers or the government reaching into their lives and telling them what to do. we would not accept that as americans and other ways and we should not accept that overreach here either. host: we are having the conversation as we wait for final rules from the osha rule being crafted for businesses of 100 employees or more on vaccine mandates and to include a testing option. the white house covid-19 response gordon nader -- coordinator talked about that. [video clip] >> on osha, the team has been working to >> we'll leave this program here. you can watch the rest of it on our website c-span.org.

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