Florida Senate - 2021                        COMMITTEE AMENDMENT
       Bill No. SB 2-B
                              LEGISLATIVE ACTION                        
                    Senate             .             House              

       The Committee on Judiciary (Polsky) recommended the following:
    1         Senate Amendment (with title amendment)
    3         Delete lines 128 - 157
    4  and insert:
    5  because of a sincerely held religious belief. A claim for an
    6  exemption based on religious reasons is presumed to be because
    7  of a sincerely held religious belief; however, if the employer
    8  is aware of facts that provide an objective basis for
    9  questioning either the religious nature or the sincerity of a
   10  particular belief, practice, or observance relating to the
   11  claimed exemption, an employer may request reasonably related
   12  additional information to support the claim. An employee’s
   13  failure to cooperate with an employer’s request for additional
   14  information may be used by the employer as a defense against a
   15  complaint alleging that the employer improperly denied an
   16  exemption to the employee under this paragraph.
   17         (c)To claim an exemption based on COVID-19 immunity, the
   18  employee must present to the employer an exemption statement
   19  demonstrating competent medical evidence that the employee has
   20  immunity to COVID-19, documented by the results of a valid
   21  laboratory test performed on the employee. The Department of
   22  Health shall adopt a standard for demonstrating competent
   23  medical evidence of such immunity.
   24         (d)To claim an exemption based on periodic testing, the
   25  employee must present to the employer an exemption statement
   26  indicating that the employee agrees to comply with regular
   27  testing for the presence of COVID-19 at no cost to the employee.
   28         (e)To claim an exemption based on employer-provided
   29  personal protective equipment, the employee must present to the
   30  employer an exemption statement indicating that the employee
   31  agrees to comply with the employer’s reasonable written
   32  requirement to use employer-provided personal protective
   33  equipment when in the presence of other employees or other
   34  persons.
   35         (2)Except as provided in paragraph (1)(b), if an employer
   36  receives a completed exemption statement authorized by
   37  subsection (1), the employer must allow the employee to opt out
   38  of the employer’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate.
   39         (3)An employee may file a complaint with the Department of
   40  Legal Affairs alleging that an exemption has not been offered or
   41  has been improperly applied or denied in violation of this
   42  section. If the department investigates and finds that the
   43  exemption was not offered or was improperly applied or denied,
   44  it must notify the employer of its determination and allow the
   45  employer the opportunity to cure the noncompliance. If an
   46  employee fails to cooperate with an employer’s request for
   47  additional information under paragraph (1)(b) and the department
   48  determines that the employer had an objective basis for
   49  questioning the exemption claimed under that paragraph and that
   50  the additional information requested was reasonably related to
   51  the claim, such determination is a defense to a charge of
   52  violating subsection (2).
   54  ================= T I T L E  A M E N D M E N T ================
   55  And the title is amended as follows:
   56         Delete lines 10 - 16
   57  and insert:
   58         Health to adopt certain rules; authorizing employers
   59         to request additional information from employees
   60         claiming an exemption based on religious reasons under
   61         certain circumstances; providing that an employer may
   62         use an employee’s failure to comply with such request
   63         as a defense against certain complaints; requiring an
   64         employer to exempt an employee from a vaccination upon
   65         submission of a completed exemption statement form,
   66         with an exception; authorizing an employee to file a
   67         complaint with the Department of Legal Affairs;
   68         requiring the department to notify a noncompliant
   69         private employer and allow such employer the
   70         opportunity to cure a violation; providing employers a
   71         defense against a specified violation;