Are Employers Requiring their Employees to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine?

covid vaccine for employees

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on many people’s lives. Even those that have remained healthy may have had their personal and professional lives changed dramatically. As the vaccine continues to be rolled out across the country, many employers are now requesting the employees to come back to their place of work. In order to do that, employers are forced to determine whether they should require their team members to receive the full vaccination.

Reasons Why Employers May Want to Require the Vaccine

Having a vaccine requirement is a big decision that any employer will want to make. It is a delicate balance between infringing on the medical privacy rights of your team members while also ensuring that everyone is safe and protected from the virus. Vaccination requirements are expected to become increasingly common in certain industries, particularly healthcare where you are more likely to be around individuals that have health risks.

Can an Employer Require You to be Vaccinated?

A lot of thought has been put into whether an employer can require employees to receive the vaccination prior to returning to work. When working with an employment lawyer New Jersey residents and employees will quickly find that the EEOC did determine that a vaccination requirement would not be a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The ADA does prohibit employers from conducting medical exams, simply having a vaccination requirement in place would not violate this law.  This is because the employer is simply asking if vaccination was received as opposed to conducting an examination, administering the vaccine themselves, or asking for more specific health information.

The employer does need to be careful about requiring vaccines. It needs to be apparent that this is a company-wide mandate and that they are not requiring it from just specific people.

Exemptions to Vaccination Mandates

When working with employment lawyers New Jersey residents will find that there are always exceptions to vaccination mandates. The EEOC and the Civil Rights Act have identified that an employer cannot require an employee to obtain the vaccination if it is due to health concerns or religious purposes.

If an employee does not receive the vaccination for either of these reasons, the employer is required to provide them with a reasonable alternative for working. They also cannot exclude the employee from working unless there is not a reasonable way for them to perform the core tasks of the job. Employers will need to do their best to accommodate, which could include allowing certain employees to work from home or have them work in an environment where masks are required, and they have sufficient space from their closest co-workers.  

Employer Options

As there are clearly challenges that come with having a vaccine mandate at the workplace, many employers are taking other steps to improve the vaccination rate without having a set requirement. Many employers are recommending that their team members receive a vaccination, but are still creating a safe work environment. This can include requiring masks, having rotating schedules to reduce crowds, and taking any additional safety measures. 

If you are being required to take the vaccine, it is important to understand your rights. When looking for an employment lawyer New Jersey residents should reach out to Ashton E. Thomas. When hiring employment lawyers New Jersey residents will learn much more about their options when it comes to taking the vaccine and whether their rights are being violated. The employment attorneys in NJ can provide all legal guidance that is needed at this time. This can include having employment attorneys in NJ assess the policies and practices ensuring they are in compliance with the law and do not violate anyone’s rights.