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Daily Bread for 10.19.21: Employers Have Rights — and Obligations to Workplace Safety

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 72.  Sunrise is 7:14 AM and sunset 6:04 PM for 10h 50m 28s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing gibbous with 98.8% of its visible disk illuminated.

 The Whitewater Common Council meets at 6:30 PM.

 On this day in 1781, the British formally surrender at the Battle of Yorktown.


This sound principle in Washington is a sound principle in Wisconsin: employers have rights, and workplace safety obligations. 

 Scott Hanson reports WSU football coach Nick Rolovich fired for refusing COVID vaccine:

Nick Rolovich came to Washington State as a fun-loving coach, known nationally for his off-the-wall antics and an ability to win.

After less than two years and only 11 games, Rolovich has been fired, and will be known nationally as one of the highest-profile terminations for refusing to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Washington State athletic director Pat Chun said WSU had “initiated the separation process” with Rolovich and four of his assistant coaches for not complying with the state mandate that all state employees be fully vaccinated by Monday.

Defensive coordinator Jake Dickert has been named acting head coach.

“This is a disheartening day to be here today,” Chun said in a Monday evening news conference. “Our football team is hurting, our WSU community is fractured, and today will have a lasting impact on the young men on our team and the remaining coaches on the staff.

“As the director of athletics and the steward of this department, I take full responsibility for hiring Nick. … We believed we had found the perfect fit and a long-term solution for Washington State football. Unfortunately, we stand here today making a transition.”

Defensive tackles coach Ricky Logo, cornerbacks coach John Richardson, quarterbacks coach Craig Stutzmann and offensive line coach Mark Weber are also being let go.

“To be at this juncture today is unacceptable on so many levels,” Chun said.

Rolovich will not receive the remaining $3.6 million buyout of his contract.

He had applied for a religious exemption to the mandate requiring all state employees to be vaccinated by Oct. 18. To remain as coach, Rolovich needed approval for his exemption request and for his supervisor, Chun, to determine that he could effectively do his job while keeping the public safe.

“For the employees that we received notification [on] today, it was really simple and their accommodation requests were denied,” Chun said.

 Jon Wilner writes This ended the only way it could for WSU and unvaccinated football coach Nick Rolovich:

Washington State did not fire coach Nick Rolovich on Monday. The school was merely the vessel of dismissal, carrying out a state mandate designed to save lives and contain a pandemic.

In reality, Rolovich fired Rolovich.

He alone is responsible for his termination, halfway through his second season and with his team on the ascent.

He alone bears the burden for the mess in Pullman, for the massive disruption to the football program, for the immense embarrassment to the university and for the gut punch to Cougar constituents.

See also No Shirt, No Shoes? No Service and The ‘Personal Responsibility’ Crowd Wants a Handout.

A reminder on the libertarian case for vaccine mandates: Cato adjunct scholar, and George Mason law professor, Ilya Somin on why vaccine mandates are consistent with libertarian views. Summarizing: (1) a disease like COVID involves the potential of harm to other people (2) mask mandates, lockdowns, and restrictions on international travel are all much more intrusive than the relatively slight imposition of a safe and effective vaccine (3) there is a strong libertarian case that private institutions, and even the government when acting as employer, can set policies attached to what are voluntary relationships: employees, customers, students, etc. (4) Florida’s recent attempt to ban private businesses such as cruise lines from adopting vaccine requirements has already suffered defeat in court and is one example of an affront to libertarian sensibilities.


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