NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry is working to help businesses cut through the confusion of recently passed state legislation that would impact how businesses operate during the pandemic.
“We immediately knew when the legislature passed House Bill 9077, that there would be really an immediate need to get businesses compliant with this new law,” said Chamber Vice President of Government Relations Ryan King. “When you pair that with the OSHA rule that’s just, just come down and has since been stayed, it’s really created just an unprecedented amount of confusion.”
The Chamber is hosting a series of free compliance seminars to help all businesses with navigating compliance of Tennessee‘s newly passed COVID-19 requirements for employers.
“We are working to get the word out across Tennessee to all employers and assist every business that needs guidance to steer through the complexities of both state and federal policies,” said Chamber President/CEO Bradley Jackson. “It is our obligation to ensure all employers understand their requirements under law. We understand that recent federal orders and state legislation can result in confusion and costly litigation. Employers have to know how to comply.”
Tennessee lawmakers met in a special session recently where they passed legislation regarding how businesses handle the pandemic. However, the TN Chamber has expressed its opposition to both federal and state mandates relative to vaccination, masking, and testing for businesses.
King said the fact that HB9077 would go into effect immediately if signed by the Governor makes this even more urgent for businesses to understand how to comply. They’ve had hundreds of businesses call trying to gain more understanding after the legislation was quickly passed without many having input.
“Our legislature has been one of the best in the country in terms of making us a place that’s friendly to the business community. And I think that’s manifested itself in a lot of ways in which it’s been very obvious in the last month, that we have a very strong business climate in Tennessee,” King said. “We think this one is a little bit different. It’s been a long time since we saw a mandate like this on the business community, one with a private right of action, that allows someone to actually sue a business for making a decision about their own business, hiring and firing decision about their own business.”
The first compliance seminar is being held at 10 a.m. CST on Tuesday, Nov. 9. The virtual meeting series is free to attend and will have no registration expense or limit. Legal experts will be on hand to step through the complexities of the measures and address questions of employers. The Tennessee Chamber will be hosting a second seminar on November 17 to focus on the exemption process for qualified employers. In addition, a final compliance seminar will take a closer look at expected OSHA emergency rules.
To register, visit www.tnchamber.org/complianceseminar