Unreasonable Search and Seizure: Covid-19 Testing Mandates Violate the Constitution (Part 2)
This is Part 2 of Unreasonable Search and Seizure: Covid-19 Testing Mandates Violate the Constitution. In Part 1, we covered how 26 workers filed a lawsuit against the New Jersey Government for subjecting only unvaccinated workers to Covid-19 testing, on the basis of violating the First amendment, the Fourth amendment, the Fourteenth amendment, and the Equal Protection Clause. Now, we detail the experiences and immense distress testing mandates inflicted on the workers lives.
Even after scientific evidence and the CDC had stated that vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals are both at risk of the transmission and contraction of the virus, only the unvaccinated workers were subject to testing. Testing was neither mandated for vaccinated workers – an act of prevention – nor dropped for the unvaccinated.
Constitutional violations and lack of scientific responsibility aside, treating the unvaccinated workers like “lepers” should raise eyebrows to unethical and discriminatory actions of the government – supposedly appointed to serve their citizens, regardless of medical or religious standings. On the flip side, “Chief Justice Rabner and Judge Glenn Grant announced that judiciary workers who had taken the covid shots could continue working without any new conditions on their employment.”
Show Your (Testing) Papers – Or Don’t Get Paid
The unvaccinated workers were only allowed to test within certain time periods and in certain facilities, even if this meant intruding on the workers’ personal and family time. If their test results were delayed, they were “prohibited from working” the next workday and the absence could be “considered unauthorized and unpaid”. This unusually harsh rule gave no room for exceptions, even if the test was negative or other unforeseen circumstances arose.
Plaintiff Roseanne Hazlett, detailed her appalling experiences in her testimony. Despite being tested on Wednesday, her first test failed to be delivered by the 11am Friday deadline and she had to take personal time for her Monday absence. In order to work the day afterwards, she was forced to drive 80 miles in the middle of her vacation to obtain a second test. The case said that the second test “showed what she already knew; she was not sick”. She says that she plans her whole week around testing.
Likewise, even the mere thought of a weekend out of town caused Plaintiff Alyson Stout great distress out of fears of missing testing and work, or not being able to find a testing facility while she was away. Ms. Stout stated,
“Rather than being able to use my non-working time to relax and enjoy family time, I find myself… stressing every day waiting for my results to come in via email, not because I am worried I have Covid, but because I am worried the results will not come back on time for me to work… The idea that I may have to go undergo this testing indefinitely is gut wrenching and intrusive on every level.”
Get Your (Testing) Papers – In Front Of Everyone
Furthermore, many of the unvaccinated workers were forced to produce their bodily fluids and expose their medical status under humiliating and unconcealed circumstances. Plaintiff Heather Hicks said, “My profile [with the testing company] and the profile of many others were emailed to other staff, some of whom are not even testing.” The testing sites at her district were a high school gymnasium and cafeteria. Plaintiff Jill Matthews reported that, “Technicians shout people’s names back and forth” in her district.
Submit Your (Testing) Papers – Who Even Cares About Medical Privacy?
On top of all of that, there was an enormous lack of privacy and protection downstream. EO 253 required test results, regardless of status, to be “tracked by their local government-employer as well as the local health Board and the State of New Jersey” and “The Workers’ personal medical information was shared with these three government entities as well as a number of private entities, including the testing companies (about which Plaintiffs know very little) and laboratories selected by the State”.
The unvaccinated workers were left with an uncomfortable silence, not knowing where their private information could possibly end up. Would it be destroyed or revealed to unqualified individuals, sold and used in research for grants and unbeknownst purposes? Instead of having confidence that the government would protect the privacy and the safety of their workers, the workers lived daily in fear.
Segregating Unvaccinated Workers Is Discriminatory and Unreasonable
The segregation of the unvaccinated while allowing the vaccinated complete benefits is simultaneously discriminatory as also objectively unreasonable in the following ways:
“1) Frequency of testing
2) Physical invasiveness
3) The degradation involved in treating workers as though they are presumptively diseased,
4) Intruding into personal and family time
5) Failing to safeguard the Workers’ privacy,
6) The fact that the only way the mandates could end was at the discretion of the individual Defendants
7) The fact that none of the mandates were actually tied to any metrics of disease, such as community spread.”
The unconstitutional reasons for search and seizure of bodily fluids mentioned in Part 1, coupled with the emotional havoc mandated testing is orchestrating, displays how the New Jersey Government lacks concern for the physical and mental health of their employees. No matter what time in history – to impose medical and diagnostic procedures in the name of scientific and technological developments while failing to allow individual freedoms, is to trample on ethical principles and the respect for human dignity, human rights, and fundamental freedoms.
The latest update on this case was an oral argument on January 7th, 2023. To find the court documents and any future updates on this case, visit Wefer Law Offices.
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