WESOS Presents Ask Jade April 2021- Can an Employer Require Vaccination?
Can an employer require vaccination?
Employment in most states, including Illinois, is AT WILL, unless otherwise agreed upon by the employer in writing. That means employers have wide latitude in the restrictions and requirements they can place around employment. In general, employers can implement non-discriminatory physical health requirements. So, the short answer to whether employers can require that employees get a COVID-19 vaccination? Yes. That “yes,” however, comes with numerous caveats.
Mandating employee vaccinations is generally permitted as part of an employer’s physical health requirements, but the policy must be applied in a non-discriminatory manner. That means the employer must make room for exceptions and accommodations based on religious or medical reasons.
Employees with legitimate medical issues or concerns can request an exemption as a “reasonable accommodation” under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Typically, employees need a physician to complete ADA paperwork and identify the nature of the disability so that an employer can determine whether it is a disability covered by the ADA. According to US EEOC, COVID meets the ADA’s “direct threat standard” which allows employers to institute more extensive medical controls in the workplace than otherwise allowed under the ADA. -as such, a disability that might normally be accommodated under the ADA might not be exempted from COVID-19 workplace regulations. The employer must weigh the accommodation needs of an employee against the safety necessities of the workplace and do so in a reasonable manner.
Employees with religious beliefs that are inconsistent with vaccinations may seek protection from a vaccination requirement under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. -Title VII requires that an employee’s request for accommodation be based on a “sincerely held religious belief.” This definition is subject to interpretation by the courts. Even though employers have the ability to mandate vaccination, it is unlikely. New. Therefore, employers will likely be cautious in determining whether to mandate vaccination.
Employers and employees should be mindful that this is a developing area of law and medicine and that government agencies are continuously issuing new guidance.
As always if you have questions about it as always, feel free to reach out to the Law Office of Jade Carpenter, and I would be happy to help! See you next time.
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The materials available at or within this article and video are for information purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should ask an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue of problem.
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