Published on December 17, 2020
With COVID-19 vaccines becoming available, employers have been asking whether they can require their employees to be vaccinated. Yesterday the EEOC issued guidance on how employers should approach and enforce workforce vaccinations to stay compliant with the ADA, Title VII and other applicable laws. Of note, employers are able to require employees to be vaccinated, under a qualification standard which requires that an individual shall not “pose a direct threat to the health and safety” of others in the workplace. For individuals who cannot be vaccinated due to disability or sincerely held religious belief, practice or observance, employers must still engage in an interactive process to identify workplace accommodation options that do not pose an undue hardship to the employer.
If reasonable accommodation for an unvaccinated employee cannot be accomplished, then employers can exclude the employee from physically entering the workplace. The worker may still be entitled to accommodations outside the workplace and employers are encouraged to consider the types of accommodations used during the current COVID-19 restrictions, such as telework. Other rights might also apply under the EEO laws or other federal, state, and local laws and requirements.
See the full guidelines from the EEOC here: What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws. Section K addresses COVID-19 vaccination issues.
For questions, please contact any member of Ryan Swanson’s Employment Rights, Benefits & Labor group.