Recently, the EEOC (US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) updated its ongoing COVID-19 guidance with questions and answers that specifically address mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies within the workplace.
In short, the guidance provided suggests that employers can implement and enforce mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies for employees. However, there are certain exceptions and caveats to be aware of.
What to know about mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations in the workplace
- Employers are able to require employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine (upon availability) in order to return to, or remain in the workplace.
- With that being said, employers will need make an attempt to accommodate employees who decline or refuse to receive the vaccine due to medical disabilities or sincerely held religious beliefs.
- In the event an un-vaccinated employee presents a threat to the health and safety of other people in the workplace, and no reasonable accommodations can be met, then the employer may lawfully exclude that person from the workplace.
- If an employer excludes an un-vaccinated employee, this however does not give them the right to automatically terminate the employee. Rather, the employer will first need to assess whether other accommodations might be possible, such as working remotely.
View the full list of answers provided to questions regarding the updated guidance from the EEOC.
What are the responsibilities of business owners based on the updated COVID-19 vaccination policies?
While the last year has been unprecedented with policies revolving around COVID-19 constantly changing, the main thing for business owners to keep in mind is compliance. As a business owner and employer, adhering to employment laws and guidelines set in place is the best way to ensure this.
Not adhering to these guidelines may not only put other employees safety at risk in the workplace, but can also get your business into legal trouble. This is something no business wants to face during times like these, or ever for that matter. So be sure to take some time to completely understand the mandatory vaccination policies for employers. Doing so will save your business and the health safety of your employees in the long run.
Need legal advice for your business?
If you have compliance questions concerning your business, we encourage you to contact us. No question is too big or small when it comes to legal requirements. Our employment attorneys are well-versed in legal issues businesses commonly face, and we’d be glad to help you and your business.