By now we’ve all heard of some of the perks associated with getting the COVID-19 vaccine: free donuts, French fries and lottery tickets. Even the White House is teaming up with Anheuser-Busch to “buy America’s next round of beer” when 70% of the U.S. adult population has been vaccinated.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has indicated that there are currently no equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws which prevent an “employer from requiring all employees physically entering the workplace to be vaccinated for COVID-19, subject to the reasonable accommodation provisions of Title VII and the ADA and other EEO considerations.” So, you might get fired for refusing to be vaccinated. Employers may also require confirmation, including documentation, of vaccination, but employers must also keep in mind that it is medical information subject to confidentiality issues.
However, employers and employees need to be much more informed about their respective rights. If an employee belongs to a religion that prohibits vaccinations or he/she has a medical condition preventing them from safely getting the vaccine, he/she may be protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII). Many employers are willing to work with employees to educate them about the vaccine, provide paid time off or transportation to go and get the vaccine, or allow the employee to work from home. Employees should be ready to discuss their concerns with vaccinations in order to come up with a mutually workable solution.
If you are an employer trying to equitably enforce this requirement or an employee who feels you have been wronged in an unfair termination, call Leonard Sciolla and ask to speak with an employment law attorney who can help you navigate this subject.