The year 2020 will go down as a year to be remembered – for many reasons. One of the biggest reasons of course, is the COVID-19 pandemic. During it, we learned to work remotely, social distance, bake bread, and experiment with the best backgrounds for our virtual meetings.
2021 will bring new opportunities and challenges as well as hope with the COVID-19 vaccine. How will your workplace continue emphasizing safety protocols in the New Year, and will those protocols include the new vaccine?
Employers want their workplaces, employees, customers, and vendors to be safe. We recommend following the CDC guidance that employers encourage their employees to receive the vaccine. Depending on their individual industries and circumstances, some employers may consider going beyond recommending the vaccine by requiring employees be vaccinated. Employers who are considering requiring the vaccine should ask themselves if this is a business necessity. If not, recommending it is the best route. If it is, there are several things to consider.
While the vaccine is a great preventive measure, employers must consider objections to mandatory vaccinations due to sincerely held religious beliefs and medical accommodations. Sincerely held religious beliefs are protected by the EEOC and medical accommodations by the ADA. Also, medical history questions asked as a part of the vaccination process could be considered a medical examination.
For further information on best practices and what employers can and cannot require of employees and vaccinations, please refer to the EEOC’s Coronavirus page https://www.eeoc.gov/coronavirus.
If you have questions on developing workplace policies that promote safety, are legally compliant, and set your team up for success, please share your thoughts or give us a call!