MJI represents Gulf Coast Restaurant Group (GCRG) in the lawsuit challenging the mandate. GCRG is the corporate family that owns several Mississippi restaurants, including Half Shell Oyster House and the Rack House. GCRG, which is already struggling with staffing shortages in its restaurants, challenged the mandate in court because it will encourage even more of its employees to quit their jobs and could even make it difficult to keep many of its restaurants open.
Private employers in Louisiana and Texas have also joined the suit, as well as the Attorneys General of those states. The State of Mississippi is represented by Attorney General Lynn Fitch.
The federal vaccine mandate for private employers requires companies with over 100 employees to force their employees to be vaccinated, or be subject to weekly testing (at the employee’s expense) and constant mask wearing – on pain of losing their job.
While this halt to the federal vaccine mandate is only a temporary measure, it is a crucial first round victory. It signals that the courts understand the serious and myriad legal problems with this mandate, and are willing to hold the federal government to its constitutionally limited role.
If you don’t own a business that is subject to the federal vaccine mandate, or work for one that is, should you care about the legal fight to put a stop to it? Absolutely, for several reasons.
It’s never a good idea to let the federal government infringe on people’s personal liberties to force them to do what the government thinks is best for them. Not only does that make us less free, it often backfires. Encouraging voluntary vaccination is the best approach to foster greater participation and trust.
Additionally, if we stay quiet when the federal government exceed its constitutionally authorized power just because it doesn’t personally affect us, we have no way stop the federal government from overreaching when what it’s doing does personally affect us.
And finally, the federal vaccine mandate will affect all of us, whether or not it applies to our businesses or employers. The labor market is as tight as most businesses have ever seen it. The supply chain is riddled with delays. The last thing the economy needs is any more major disruptions, like thousands more employees quitting their jobs over incredibly intrusive medical mandates.
Gulf Coast Restaurant Group encourages its employees to get vaccinated. It even offers a $100 reward to every employee who does. While GCRG is proud of its efforts to encourage employee vaccination, it is equally proud to stand up for the rights of Mississippi businesses to operate without burdensome and unconstitutional federal regulations that prevent them from retaining their employees and adequately serving their customers. And MJI is proud to represent them in that fight.
With your continued support, we hope to keep fighting for Mississippians’ constitutional rights for many more years to come.
Director, Mississippi Justice Institute