The Health Care Right of Conscience Act was enacted to permit medical professionals to refuse to receive or participate in healthcare services that are contrary to their personal beliefs. However, since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the law was frequently cited by some employees in an effort to exempt themselves from testing and vaccination requirements. An HCRCA amendment, signed into law by Governor Pritzker as P.A. 102-0667 on November 8, 2021, is intended to foreclose those arguments and preempt potential or pending litigation by expressly stating that it is not a violation of the HCRCA to impose measures intended to prevent contraction or transmission of COVID-19. The amendment further states that it is not a violation to enforce those requirements by terminating employment or excluding individuals from a school, place of employment, or public or private premises as a consequence of non-compliance. The clarifications provided for in the amendment are, according to the General Assembly, declarative of existing law and are not to be construed as a new enactment. Although the law is not effective until June 1, 2022, by stating that the amendment is intended to clarify existing law, the amendment likely will have an impact on litigation that is currently pending or that may be filed before the effective date.
Please contact Chris Hoffmann or any of the attorneys in our Labor/Personnel or Litigation practice groups with questions you may have concerning Senate Bill 1169.