Outrage! Oregon says people fired for refusing vaccines generally can’t collect jobless benefits

The Oregon Employment Department said Wednesday that people who lose their jobs because they bucked a vaccine mandate probably aren’t eligible for unemployment assistance.

“In broad strokes, requiring somebody to be vaccinated during the midst of a worldwide pandemic is a reasonable policy,” David Gerstenfeld, acting director of the Oregon Employment Department, said on his weekly media call Wednesday.

“So, if somebody doesn’t follow that policy, and they don’t have a good reason, it very well could result in their not being eligible for benefits,” said Gerstenfeld, who is also an attorney. He said there are “narrow” exceptions for people with a medical exemption or a “sincerely held religious belief.”

That’s a much more definitive position than the department took a week ago, when it described vaccine mandates as a “rapidly evolving issue” and said it was awaiting clarity from future court rulings on benefits eligibility.

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