Wednesday, December 9, 2020
From when one can be obtainable in the USA to the place it’s possible you’ll fall within the precedence line, COVID-19 vaccines are dominating the information cycle proper now. Unsurprisingly, a standard query from employers has emerged: can we require staff to acquire a COVID-19 vaccine earlier than returning to work?
In brief, it relies upon
As a result of the EEOC has not issued steerage particular to the COVID-19 vaccine (not but, anyway), its previous steerage regarding whether or not an employer might require staff to get a flu vaccine is useful. Usually, employers can require staff to obtain a vaccine earlier than returning to work, however there are a few caveats.
First, staff could also be entitled to an exemption from a compulsory vaccination requirement, so it is necessary for employers to seek out out why an worker is not going to get the vaccine if requested to take action. An worker with (1) a coated incapacity or (2) a sincerely held non secular perception, apply, or observance that stops the worker from taking the vaccine might must be excused from this requirement as an affordable lodging until it’ll current undue hardship. For employers contemplating denying an lodging based mostly on undue hardship, it could be prudent to seek the advice of together with your employment lawyer earlier than doing so. Lodging points stemming from COVID-19, do business from home, and administration of the COVID-19 vaccine are more likely to proceed to plague employers for the following couple of years (not less than), so getting forward of this situation is vital.
Second, and virtually talking, it stays to be seen when vaccinations will begin in the USA and, even then, how rapidly vaccines can be generally obtainable for many who fall on the backside of the precedence line. Within the meantime, employers must be contemplating whether or not a compulsory vaccination requirement is correct for his or her office and, if that’s the case, when it’ll go into impact and the results for not complying (topic to the affordable lodging exemptions). What is correct for every employer will depend upon the workforce, the character of the enterprise, and lots of different elements.
So, what now?
With so many unknowns at this level, one of the best plan of action is to plan forward however stay versatile and wait to disseminate or implement any kind of coverage or requirement. Take this chance to weigh the potential authorized publicity of a compulsory vaccination requirement and take into account whether or not a compulsory or voluntary (even when strongly inspired) vaccination coverage is suitable based mostly on the character and wishes of your corporation. Keep away from a knee-jerk response; as a substitute, stability office well being and security with worker rights and guarantee these dealing with lodging requests can be ready. And in case you have questions, seek the advice of your employment counsel earlier than performing.
© 2020 Jones Walker LLPNationwide Legislation Evaluation, Quantity X, Quantity 344