Employment Law Alert – What Employers Need to Know about COVID-19 Vaccines and the Workplace
March 11, 2021
As we enter the season of greater COVID-19 vaccine availability and some aspect of normalcy, many employers may have questions about vaccinations and the workplace. Can an employer ask about vaccination status? When can an employer require its employees receive the vaccination? The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) released frequently asked questions (scroll to Section K) addressing these questions and more. A summary of the FAQs is below.
- Employers may request that employees notify them when the employee has received the vaccination.
- Employers may request employees provide proof of vaccination; however, managers should not ask why an employee has not received the vaccine.
- Employers may offer the vaccine to employees on a voluntary basis through an employer-sponsored program.
- In order to require the COVID-19 vaccine, employers must have a reasonable belief that an employee who is not administered the vaccine will pose a direct threat to the health and safety of the employee or others.
- If an employee objects to a mandatory vaccination due to sincerely held religious practice or belief, the employer must provide a reasonable accommodation unless it would pose an undue hardship.
- Employers may exclude employees from the workplace if an employee cannot be vaccinated because of a disability or sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance. This does not mean that an employer may automatically terminate the employee. Employers will need to determine if any other rights apply under federal, state, or local equal employment opportunity laws, or other federal, state or local authorities.
Additionally, if an employer elects to require the vaccine, the employer may likely have to pay the employee for time searching for and receiving a vaccine.
Your attorneys at Shulman Rogers are prepared to answer any questions you may have regarding employee vaccinations and the workplace. Please contact us with any inquiries.
The contents of this Alert are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions about this Alert, please contact the Shulman Rogers attorney with whom you regularly work or a member of the Shulman Rogers Employment and Labor Law Group.