Can employers require workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Last updated: May 29, 2024
Trending post
Elyssa Duncan
Community SpecialistBullet point
Follow
Community Specialist
Facebook share linkTwitter share link
Like
Comment
Share
Can employers require workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Jump to section

The dynamic of the workplace has changed dramatically over the last year due to COVID-19. What we have been accustomed to in our everyday lives has shifted since the start of this worldwide pandemic, from plexiglass barriers, mandatory mask policies, and enforced social distancing.

With the COVID-19 vaccination becoming more widely available, it has many workers asking,

"What can my employer make me do?"

We’re here to address what a place of work can and cannot require. For more information about the latest COVID-19 news, head to the Jobcase Coronavirus Resource Center,

Can an employer require its workers to get the COVID-19 vaccination?

Yes. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), employers may encourage, and even require COVID-19 vaccinations, but all policies must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), and other workplace laws.

Currently, 0 of the 50 states have mandated the COVID-19 vaccination, though some employers have done so. Here are some other key takeaways about the requirements surrounding the vaccine.

  • States' authority to mandate vaccines is well-established. All states require vaccines for public school attendance, though many do not mandate adult vaccination for the general public.

  • The federal government's power to instate a general vaccine mandate is unclear, though it is unlikely.

  • Employers may require vaccines, such as the flu shot, as a condition of employment.

  • Many colleges and universities are strongly urging students and staff to receive the vaccine, and several, including Cornell University and Rutgers University, recently announced they require vaccination before the Fall 2021 semester.

Can I refuse vaccinations if my employer requires them?

The short answer is yes, if you have the right reasons. Here are some legitimate bases on which you can refuse a vaccination.

  • Medical exemptions.
    Employees can decline vaccination if they have a plausible belief that they have a medical condition that would create serious illness, harm, or a severe reaction to the vaccine. These workers are protected under a provision in the Occupational Safety & Health Act of 1970.

  • Disability.
    Under the protection of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), some employees can claim exemption from receiving an employer-required vaccination. The ADA prohibits discrimination based on #disability, workers would not be required to take a vaccine if they have a medical condition that makes it unsafe for them to receive it. Under this law, employers must reasonably accommodate employees with disabilities.

  • Religious reasons.
    Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 declares that employers must accommodate employee’s resistance to vaccinations if it conflicts with their “sincerely-held religious beliefs.” To qualify for such exemption, employees are required to provide written documentation to their employers.

Can employers require workers to wear a mask?

Yes. Employers can require the use of facial coverings while in the workplace. It’s important to understand that “employers may require employees to wear masks while at the workplace even if there is no state mandate,” says labor and employment attornies.

As private property owners, employers have the right to continue enforcing COVID-19 precautions put into place (such as mask-wearing and social distancing) while employees and customers are on their property.

For more articles on workplace safety issues  

What can I do to increase my safety in the workplace?

Many states are continuing to modify executive orders surrounding COVID-19. If you are hesitant about returning to work and want to ensure your safety while in the workplace, here are steps you can take to prepare yourself to head back to work.

  • Talk to your employer about protocols. Ask to review your workplace’s COVID-19 prevention program guidelines. Employers must establish and maintain written programs that outline all safety and health protocols in your workplace. If you are not comfortable with the guidelines in place, discuss other options to keep yourself protected such as altered work hours or the potential to work remotely.

  • Take preventative measures to keep yourself protected. When in the workplace, be sure to wash your hands frequently and/or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer regularly. You should also take steps to minimize exposure by remaining the recommended distance apart from others whenever feasible. If possible, follow the CDC’s recommendation of wearing a proper face covering.


**Do you feel comfortable returning to work during the #Coronavirus pandemic? Share your opinions in the comments below. **

10
14 Comments
Like
Comment
Share

Comments

sukkah d
Bullet point
Follow

There's a lot of confused people. Simply because they trusted a tyrannical government,that's ran by tyrannical corporations,that owns every TV station the truly programmed people watch. Which so happens to be the majority.

The past generations have been have been modified to give the controllers a perfectly obedient slave society. Now all that's left to do is kill most of the cattle off(which is all of you)or at the very least sterilize them.

CovidA.I. Humans are too slow mentally and physically. They lose their value too quick and cost too much to maintain. That's not science fiction. That's from a NASA document accidentally or incidentally (it matters not,it's factual)leaked onto NASA`s official website. Believe it or not we are being phased out. Just like every other past civilization that they conveniently don't know what happened to them. There's quite a few. The bamboozle is real. How long are you gonna be bedazzled by it?

3y
Like
Reply
2
Marilyn Hastings
Bullet point
Follow

How can employers or our government require we have the vaccine when the vaccine has none of the virus in it? That's what makes a vaccine a cure. Instead they are changing our DNA to make our bodies think they have the antibodies. Still people are catching the virus and or dying from it. Or the vaccine itself is killing people.

3y
Like
Reply
2
See all replies
Aaron Riggs
Bullet point
Follow

If a company is going to require its employees to get vaccinated, then the cost should be born by the company, not taxpayers as it is now.

If a company is going to require employees to get vaccinated, they should also be required to provide paid time off to allow for the employee being sick from the vaccine. Every single person that works for me has had to take an average of 2.56 days off. Unfortunately, many of them lost pay because the company doesn't allow for that time. If they are out of other paid time off, then they lose that money.

Remember that these vaccines HAVE NOT BEE FDA APPROVED. It's not the same as a flu shot or an MMR. Those were tested over time and proven effective with little to no side effects. These have not so its the same as a co.pany requiring employees to take a particular brand of idk ginger root, and if you get sick, it's not their fault and if you're allergic, your fired.

3y
Like
Reply
Margarita Carrillo
Bullet point
Follow

This having been a thorough response, is actually a qualified response of: "It depends on various circumstances as follows" because as often is true, there can be various variables that unique situations and they must be reviewed case by case. Such is why there are protections in place for such exceptions. Also why often those exceptions are protected behind the protections of medical exemptions further protected by such laws as HIPPAA.

3y
Like
Reply
1
Sherry L
Bullet point
Follow

As a medical and legal professional, I doubt that any employer can mandate COVID vaccinations as a condition of employment, or continued employment. Such a policy would subject the employer to legal consequences, and the employee would more than likely be eligible for compensation. Employers need to think twice and tread lightly before mandating experimental medical treatments.

3y
Like
Reply
4
See all replies
Stephen Hoevelman
Bullet point
Follow

I can accept the mask. If I refuse the vaccine, can I get unemployment. It IS an experimental drug.

3y
Like
Reply
6
Tina Menzie
Bullet point
Follow

How is it possible to mandate an experimental vaccine? This goes against the Geneva convention.

3y
Like
Reply
8
See all replies
Sherry Parker
Bullet point
Follow
Import Customs Brokerage Mgr at Geodis Usa

I have worked every day since the pandemic started. I feel that Covid is no more serious than the normal flue which kills more people every year than Covid has. I think it’s time we get back to work as we used to work. I do feel we will never be as we once were. People now feel they should be able to work from home all the time. We need people in the office. I hope everyone will be back soon.

3y
Like
Reply
7
See all replies
Add