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A Kink in the Vaccination Mandate: Supplier Labor

Planners can require attendees to be vaccinated, but vendors are another story.

Part five in our six-part feature on executing an event vaccine mandate.

When Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society met in Las Vegas in August, organizers didn’t make a single exception to its vaccination requirement for attendees, speakers, exhibitors, and staff. But there was one area it couldn’t control: labor.

“We could not tell other employers what to do with their employees,” said Karen Malone, HIMSS vice president of meetings. “But what we could do was communicate to all of our suppliers and vendors that we highly, highly encouraged them to provide vaccinated labor as much as possible.”

Freeman, for one, was able to comply, she said, and some of the hotels HIMSS worked with had strong vaccination numbers, but the society could not force a vaccine mandate on its suppliers. Malone says that for suppliers with unvaccinated staff, she worked with them to provide more frequent testing.

For groups still working out their supplier contracts, meetings-industry attorney Joshua Grimes, Grimes Law Offices, LLC, says that in some cases vaccinated labor could be part of the negotiations.

Hosts can require employees at a venue or a supplier to be vaccinated, but there must be a legal obligation for that to happen,” he says. “Either applicable law must mandate that all employees be vaccinated, or there must be a contractual obligation between host and venue/supplier. That obligation can either be in the original contract, with a requirement that the contractor comply with all the host's mandates for attendees, or in a subsequent agreement between host and contractor whereby the contractor agrees to have employees vaccinated. Absent any of these, the venue’s or supplier's employees have no obligation.”
However, Grimes notes that in a state which prohibits vaccine mandates, such as Florida, a host could not negotiate for employees of a venue or supplier to be vaccinated.

No Vax, No Entry
Part 1:
Part 2: Pre-Event Communications
Part 3: Health-and-Safety Terms and Conditions
Part 4: The On-Site Vaccine Verification Process
Part 5: A Kink in the Vaccination Plan: Supplier Labor
Part 6: Vaccine Mandates: A Legal Q&A

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