Tags: Coronavirus | coronavirus | employers | employees | mandatory

Can Employers Mandate COVID-19 Vaccines?

doctor giving woman shot
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By    |   Monday, 25 January 2021 11:25 AM

Companies nationwide are mostly encouraging their employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but experts say they can legally mandate the shot.

Richard Roth, a labor attorney in New York says that employers have the right to require their workers to get the vaccine when it is available, with exceptions for those with religious or disability-based objections.

Roth says that employers can dismiss a member of their staff who says they don’t want to get the COVID-19 vaccine if inoculation is a company requirement and policy, Newsy reports.

“Remember, you can terminate an employee for any reason whatsoever except for what I refer to as a statutorily protected right,” said Roth. “But if you say I don’t want to get the vaccine because I don’t want to, they can fire you.”

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has published guidelines that say employers could legally require the COVID-19 vaccine for workers, but they be must be accommodating to those who have legitimate objections.

According to CNBC, you need at least 70% of the population to be vaccinated or have natural antibodies to achieve the herd immunity that can contain the virus. That is why some companies are encouraging all their employees get the vaccine, says Rogge Dunn, a Dallas-based attorney. It is one way to return to some sort of normalcy. He says that especially in the restaurant industry it makes good business sense to be able say that all your staff has been vaccinated against COVID-19.

“Under the law, an employer can force an employee to get vaccinated, and if they don’t take it, fire them,” said Dunn, according to CNBC. Many healthcare experts say that medical facilities will mandate COVID-19 vaccinations as they do with flu shots.

But legal experts say if the company is unionized, it may be more difficult to implement required shots. The Americans with Disabilities Act allows workers who do not want to be vaccinated for medical reasons to apply for exemption. Also, those who believe that the vaccine violates their religious beliefs may be excluded.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, the largest teachers union, told Newsy that rather than force people to get vaccines, we should be educating them as a nation. “We need to earn their trust,” she said.

So far, most employers have not mandated vaccines for their workers. Even the giant Amazon says it is not requiring shots but is encouraging its 800,000 employees to get them. Some companies are giving workers salaried time off to get inoculated according to Newsy.

“As the vaccine starts rolling out more and more and as there will be people in their 30s, 40s, and 50s taking it, you may very well see that issue between employer and employee,” said Roth.

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Headline
Companies nationwide are mostly encouraging their employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but experts say they can legally mandate the shot. Richard Roth, a labor attorney in New York says that employers have the right...
coronavirus, employers, employees, mandatory
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2021-25-25
Monday, 25 January 2021 11:25 AM
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