Our insurance professionals can help you with your vaccine workplace planning. We are available to help review your employee practices and assist you in developing a COVID-19 vaccine policy to ensure a smooth return to work.
Based on the findings of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has determined that COVID-19 meets the “direct threat” definition. “During the pandemic, employers have relied on this guidance to justify asking employees more in-depth health-related questions and performing medical screening of employees before allowing them to report for work, but “the EEOC has not yet issued guidance for how it will view mandatory vaccine policies.
Can you require employees to vaccinate?
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has not issued guidance regarding a COVID-19 vaccine. However, with the H1N1 flu pandemic of 2009, the EEOC stated employers could require employees to get the flu vaccine, as long as they provided a reasonable accommodation to employees with religious objections and disabilities under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), further discussed below.
The EEOC is likely to issue guidance related to the COVID-19 vaccine as it did with the H1N1 flu vaccine; however, until that time employers should evaluate whether it may require employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine by using the ADA analysis for vaccines generally. Under the ADA, vaccinations are considered a “medical examination.” As such, consistent with requiring any medical examination under the ADA, employers must show the vaccine is job related, consistent with business necessity or justified by a direct threat, and no broader than necessary. (Check out the rest of this article on Innovative Employer’s Insights Page – “Vaccination Policy – What You Need to Consider BEFORE Implementing One”)