Can employers require vaccinations?

Last updated: June 16, 2024
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Kai Dickerson
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Can employers require vaccinations?
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UPDATED: JULY 2021

#Coronavirus vaccines have been developed and as of July 2021 over 163 million people in the U.S. are fully vaccinated. With the nation's vaccination rate teetering at 50% - it's important to understand whether or not employers can require immunization against COVID-19 as a term of employment.

Can hiring companies require COVID-19 vaccinations?

Short answer is YES. With exceptions.

This information is based on the current guidelines for vaccines against communicable diseases and the flu. Specific rules for COVID vaccinations are evolving and subject to change.

The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) states that U.S. employers can require employees to take influenza vaccines. But it emphasize that employees “need to be properly informed of the benefits of vaccinations.” The healthcare industry and some states have required its employees to immunize, and an increasing number of companies are following the trend to require vaccinations as a term and condition of employment.

"Employers may require vaccines before employees return to the worksite if the failure to be vaccinated constitutes a direct threat to other employees in the workplace..." - Robin Samuel, an attorney with Baker McKenzie in Los Angeles

Can you refuse vaccinations if your employer requires them?

The short answer is YES.

Medical exemptions: Employees can refuse a vaccination if they have a reasonable belief that they possess a medical condition that would create serious illness, harm, or a severe reaction to the vaccine. These workers may be protected under a provision in the Occupational Safety & Health Act of 1970.

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

Religious beliefs: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 states that employers can accommodate employee’s opposition to vaccinations should it conflict with their “sincerely-held religious beliefs.” To qualify for such an exemption employee’s are required to provide written documentation to their employers.

What's happening today with vaccines at work?

Employers - especially companies in public-facing industries, have a lot to consider with this illness and emerging variants. Key considerations include:


What are your thoughts on vaccine requirements? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Janet Brady
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Well today 12/21/21 you have to prove your vaccinated. With this new variant OMICRON, you will not be able to work or go into places that require proof of your shots. There will no public transportation, no events. You will be required to carry this card. With days away from the holidays and hospitals already overwhelmed. The president going to speak today I think we are in serious trouble. I am sure he is going ask people not to attend parties mandate mask and mandate the 6-foot distancing. I live in Mas and governor Baker has set these rules here. I watch the news and GMA and they are filled with news about this new variant. Maybe unvaccinated people should watch and adhere to what they are saying. This might change their minds and get vaccinated. Stay safe wash your hands or use hand sanitizer where that mask it is a matter of life or death!!!!!!

2y
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Mike Theus
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Rsr Driver Courier at Quest Diagnostics

To the Original Pilgrim: Mostly everything we do in life is a risk and based on faith...not too much is a sure thing or guaranteed BUTT, U Gotta watch those Pilgrims, they are the ones that started this mess! Shortly after they arrived, they tricked & stole the country from the Indians, then tricked & stole people from Africa, and made work and build this country for free. If either race resisted they killed them or built reservations & prisons to get rid of them...and both are still suffering today. I apologize I didn't have time for the long version...it's much more gruesome!!!

3y
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Brenda Waddell
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Substitute Teacher at Ironton City Schools

Emergency vaccines that have not been approved should not be required! Once approved and thoroughly test the sure.

3y
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Mike Theus
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Rsr Driver Courier at Quest Diagnostics

All of the garbage, trash, unhealthy, unknown, food, fluids, medicines, air, inhaled, ingested, injected, swallowed, and exposed yourselves to all these years...and COVID 19 vaccines is where you draw the line??!!??

3y
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Jake Taz
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Correctiom Officer at Nyc Dept Of Corrections

Employers CAN ask ypubto be vaccinated if you have not or cant prove you have and if you refuse they can tefuse to hire you, you are NOT an employee of a company an have zero rights as NO lawyer will bother to take on a case against a employer with you....good luk

3y
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Nicholas Couture
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Remember when drug use was frowned upon for employment, now it's becoming a requirement?

3y
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Aaron Riggs
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Since no Covid vaccine has been approved by the FDA, how can a company force an employee to get them? They have not been approved by the FDA so we have no idea what the long term effects will be or even how effective they are against different strains? Since most vaccines make a person sick after getting one, is the employer going to be forced to provide time off with pay for employees to get said vaccine? That is a LOT on lost time at work that companies should be held responsible for paying.

3y
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Michael Kantak
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It’s not a vaccine. It’s not approved. It’s a therapeutic that only keeps one from getting real sick at least according to big pharma. The long term effects are unknown, so no thank you.

3y
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Kathy Billeck
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It should be required. The benefits outweigh the risk. Measles, polio, mumps to name a few have been virtually eradicated because of vaccines. This virus is deadly - make no mistake. Those unvaccinated are putting everyone at risk - not just themselves

3y
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Felix Perez
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What health threat does a person pose to others if that person is healthy and tested negative to COVID?

3y
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