Can employers require employees to get the Covid-19 vaccine?
As the Covid-19 vaccine rollout begins, employers are wondering whether they can require their employees to be vaccinated as a condition of coming to work. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) recently offered guidance suggesting the answer is “yes.” Here are a few highlights from the EEOC’s guidance:
- Employers can ask an employee to show proof of vaccination, but certain conditions must be met before asking why an employee has not received the vaccine.
- Employees who cannot be vaccinated because of a disability or refuse vaccination because of a deeply held religious belief may be exempt from such a requirement.
- For employees who request an exemption, employers should engage in an interactive, back-and-forth dialogue to develop a reasonable accommodation.
Requiring employees to be vaccinated has a number of legal risks and may not be popular. Employers should contact legal counsel if considering such a requirement. Other vaccine-related issues are quickly emerging.