Staff at Nashville restaurant Zeppelin

Staff at Nashville restaurant Zeppelin

Industry groups in Tennessee are working to figure out how to comply both with new state laws banning employers from instituting vaccine mandates and new federal orders requiring some employers to mandate a vaccine (or regular testing) for workers.

Business groups, by and large, opposed both conflicting efforts, but now they are tasked with complying with them.

The Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry announced this week that it is hosting a series of compliance seminars to “assist all employers by providing clarity” about the state and federal mandates.

The first meeting is scheduled for Tuesday and will include legal experts answering questions for employers. Depending on when and whether Gov. Bill Lee signs the bills from last week’s special session, the new state rules could go into effect within days. On Nov. 17, the chamber will host a second seminar focused on which employers are exempt from the rules. The third seminar will focus on the federal mandate.

“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,” chamber CEO Bradley Jackson said in a release. “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.”

Among other possible penalties, businesses that don’t comply with the state laws open themselves up to possible lawsuits from employees.

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery joined his counterparts in Ohio and Kentucky to sue the Biden administration over its vaccine mandate for federal contractors.