Screening News Update: Fake Vaccines, Marijuana Union, and a Liability Shield

Screening News Update: Fake Vaccines, Marijuana Union, and a Liability Shield

By Jennifer Gladstone

Why you should never try to buy a vaccine online, marijuana workers get unionized, and Florida protects businesses from COVID-19 lawsuits. It’s all in today’s EBI Screening News Update.

Fake Vaccines

Age restrictions, short supplies, long lines, and a sheer lack of patience have all led to stolen vaccines and outright fakes getting circulated online.

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the investigative arm of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and INTERPOL recently released a joint warning that cautions people not to purchase anything online that claims to be a COVID-19 vaccine.

The warning states legitimate, approved vaccines are NOT for sale on the internet, and if you see something offered claiming to be “the real thing,” it is most likely a cybercriminal trying to take your money, or worse, someone willing to inject you with a counterfeit – possibly dangerous – fake.

Some websites claim to be offering “pre-orders” for vaccines and provide several types of payment options including Bitcoin. What’s really happening, is vaccine hunters are getting duped into giving out personal and financial information to con-artists intent on stealing their identity.

Investigators are also warning people not to post any pictures of their real vaccine cards online. Even if you cover your name, the cards have lot numbers that a scammer can use to trace the shot, and even the exact facility where you got it. While it’s not clear how that could cause trouble in the future, experts say you should treat the card like your drivers’ license or Social Security Card and keep it under wraps.

Marijuana Workers Unite

Amazon workers’ failed attempt to organize at an Alabama plant a couple of weeks ago was big news. But other union efforts have been happening quietly, and in some cases more successfully. We are talking about the unionization of marijuana workers across the country.

Union activity has been on the rise in the cannabis industry throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The majority of the votes are taking place in California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts.

Experts say there are a couple reasons for this. First, the fear of COVID-19 has increased employees’ worry about safe work conditions, and since many states declared marijuana an essential industry, these people have been expected to work throughout the pandemic. Unions are also aggressively targeting the cannabis industry to make up for the loss of membership in other economic sectors.

The United Food and Commercial Union (UFCW) already represents thousands of workers in dispensaries, labs, grow facilities, and more. They have been formally working to organize the cannabis workforce since 2013.

Florida Liability Protection

As much as businesses want to reopen and get back to normal, it is completely reasonable for owners to worry about the fall-out if someone contracts COVID-19 in their restaurant, store, or office.

Businesses in Florida now have a lot less to worry about when it comes to COVID-19 related lawsuits.

Last week, Governor Ron DeSantis signed a “liability shield” to offer some protection against lawsuits brought by employees, customers, or vendors.

Under Senate Bill 72:

  • Floridians cannot bring a lawsuit against a business if a judge determines a “good faith effort” was made to follow all government health guidance that was in place at the time of the alleged problem.
  • If you do file a lawsuit, you must have an affidavit from a physician who will swear that you contracted COVID-19 at that business.                                                                  
  • Even then, the bill raises the standard of proof to a level that will make it hard to win a case against a business. Plaintiffs must be able to prove there was “gross negligence” that led to the transmission of the virus.
  • Plaintiffs only have one year to file a lawsuit.

The new law, which went into effect immediately, applies to all businesses, even local governments and healthcare facilities.

DeSantis also issued an executive order that bans the use of any type of “vaccine passport” in the state.

Screening News Network

About the Author

Jennifer Gladstone

Jennifer Gladstone

Jennifer Gladstone is a news anchor and journalist with more than 20 years of experience in front of the camera. She's worked in several markets, large and small, and has performed nearly every task needed in a newsroom. As EBI’s Screening News Editor, she keeps EBI’s customers and blog subscribers up to date on the latest screening news and legislative alerts affecting companies of all sizes.

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