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Vaccine Mandate Firings Cascade as Employers Face Toughest Labor Market in Years

Fox Business reported:

Private companies and public employers are continuing to lay off unvaccinated employees this month, as vaccine mandates proliferate and many employers struggle to fill open jobs in a recovering economy.

The cascading firings come as the U.S. has 10.6 million job openings, according to the Labor Department, which works out to 0.7 job-seekers per open job. That’s a lower ratio than at any point since at least November 2006.

Some layoffs are mandatory due to government policies. In October, more than 33,000 healthcare workers in New York state were fired, retired or placed on unpaid leave because they refused to get vaccinated in accordance with the state’s policy.

Others were fully at the company’s discretion, like when United Airlines fired more than 230 employees in October, before the details of the Biden administration’s vaccine policies were announced.

Federal Judge Dismisses LAPD Employees Lawsuit Against COVID Vaccine Mandate

CNN reported:

A federal judge has dismissed a civil lawsuit from 13 Los Angeles Police Department employees who protested against the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, testing and reporting requirements.

Los Angeles City Council and Mayor Eric Garcetti approved an ordinance in August requiring all city employees to be vaccinated by October. Exceptions to the mandate included those with a medical or religious exemption, but those employees would still be subject to weekly COVID-19 testing, according to court documents.

In an opinion filed Friday, Judge R. Gary Klausner sided with the city’s request to dismiss the suit and agreed that vaccine-related mandates for government employees were reasonable methods to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Supreme Court Will Likely Issue ‘Split’ Ruling on Biden Vaccine Mandate: Dhillon

Fox News reported:

Center for American Liberty CEO and civil rights attorney Harmeet Dhillon predicted a “split ruling” out of the Supreme Court in the case that will determine the constitutionality of President Biden‘s COVID-19 Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) vaccine regulations.

The Supreme Court on Friday heard close to four hours of oral arguments over two of the Biden administration’s vaccine mandates — which have remained under intense legal scrutiny and have been struck down in battles across federal courts.

Dhillon, who is personally representing a client in the case, said the justices will likely uphold the mandate requiring healthcare workers to be vaccinated while overturning the rule applying to private companies with more than 100 employees.

The first phase of Biden’s vaccine-or-test mandate for employees at applicable companies went into effect Monday despite the ongoing consideration from the High Court.

States Uncertain as Biden Vaccine-or-Test Mandate Takes Effect

U.S. News & World Report reported:

The first stage of the Biden administration’s vaccine-or-test mandate for employees at large companies began Monday. But without word yet from the Supreme Court on pending challenges to the rule, some state leaders were left to take matters into their own hands.

In lieu of a ruling from the justices, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration began implementing its rule for private companies Monday — although to a limited extent.

Still, some state leaders are acting ahead of a decision from the Supreme Court.

Center for COVID Control Branded a ‘Scam’ as Testing Sites Under Investigation

Newsweek reported:

An investigation is underway into a COVID testing company that’s been flooded with negative online reviews.

The Center for COVID Control offers free same-day rapid test results at its more than 300 locations across the country, according to the company’s website.

The website claims it’s “partnered with a CDC approved & licensed laboratory” that it doesn’t identify. It’s linked to a Twitter account created in March 2021 that has just 82 followers and an Instagram account — with the handle “freecovidtest” — that has been flooded with comments calling the testing sites “fake” and “a scam.”

State officials are warning people to be wary of illegitimate test sites that could be used to steal people’s personal details.

Olympic Snowboard Champ Chooses Quarantine Over Vaccine

Associated Press reported:

Olympic snowboard champion Patrizia Kummer will head to the Beijing Games early to spend three weeks in quarantine because she isn’t vaccinated against the coronavirus, she said Tuesday.

Chinese authorities require unvaccinated Olympians to enter quarantine upon arrival if they don’t have a valid medical exemption. Kummer, a Swiss snowboarder who won gold in the parallel giant slalom at the 2014 Sochi Games, is scheduled to arrive this week. The Olympics start on Feb. 4.

“After my personal decision not to be vaccinated, quarantine is the logical consequence,” Kummer said in a statement issued by Swiss Ski.

China Locks Down 3rd City, Raising Affected to 20 Million

Associated Press reported:

A third Chinese city has locked down its residents because of a COVID-19 outbreak, raising the number confined to their homes in China to about 20 million people.

The lockdown of Anyang, home to 5.5 million people, was announced late Monday after two cases of the Omicron variant were reported. Residents are not allowed to go out and stores have been ordered shut except those selling necessities.

Another 13 million people have been locked down in Xi’an for nearly three weeks, and 1.1 million more in Yuzhou for more than a week.

The lockdowns are the broadest since the shutting down of Wuhan and most of the rest of Hubei province in early 2020 at the start of the pandemic.

Novak Djokovic Now Facing Questions About Travel in Days Before Australia Arrival

Newsweek reported:

Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic is facing questions about his travel activity leading up to his flight to Australia, where he could be deported because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19.

Djokovic wants to defend his Australian Open title but must now deal with problems regarding a travel form.

The Federal Circuit Court said he checked “no” on the Australian Travel Declaration form question that asks if he’s traveled in the past two weeks before his flight to Australia. However, he was seen in two countries during that 14-day period.

Facebook Will Require COVID Vaccine Boosters for All In-Person Employees

Business Insider reported:

Facebook parent company Meta Platforms will require all employees working from its U.S. offices to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster by late March, the company announced Monday.

The social media giant also told employees this week that it would further delay their return to the office until Mar. 28 as Omicron cases surge across the country. The company had originally planned to fully reopen its U.S. campuses at the end of January.

Facebook is the latest corporation to alter its reopening plans as rising cases force several tech companies, including Apple and Google, to indefinitely push back their planned returns.

Mozilla Wants to Show Just How Much Meta and Facebook Tracks You

TechRadar reported:

Firefox maker Mozilla has announced a wide-ranging new program aiming to discover the scope and depth of tracking services used by Facebook parent company Meta.

“According to its own privacy policy, Facebook may collect information about you across the web even if you don’t have a Facebook account,” the project’s website reads.

“One way Facebook performs this tracking is through a network of ‘pixels’ that may be installed on many of the sites you visit. By joining this study, you will help Rally and The Markup investigate and report on where Facebook is tracking you and what kind of information they are collecting.”

A Data ‘Black Hole’: Europol Ordered to Delete Vast Store of Personal Data

The Guardian reported:

The EU’s police agency, Europol, will be forced to delete much of a vast store of personal data that it has been found to have amassed unlawfully by the bloc’s data protection watchdog.

The unprecedented finding from the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) targets what privacy experts are calling a “big data ark” containing billions of points of information.

Sensitive data in the ark has been drawn from crime reports, hacked from encrypted phone services and sampled from asylum seekers never involved in any crime.