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Can Employers Require the COVID-19 Vaccine?

We’re following updates on the COVID-19 vaccine becoming available in the U.S. to help you make sense of the news! The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced its position relating to employer-mandated COVID-19 vaccines. 

Watch our HR experts break down vaccine mandates in the workplace. 

While employers can legally require the COVID-19 vaccine in the workplace, this may not be the best choice for your company. There are many employment laws that protect employees who refuse the vaccine and employers must be prepared to exempt those individuals. 

Here’s what employers need to know:

  • Employees can refuse the vaccine due to a disability with protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Once the request has been issued by the employee, employers should have a conversation to determine if a reasonable accommodation can be made.
  • Employees can refuse the vaccine due to sincerely held religious beliefs with protection under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Employers must provide reasonable accommodation where possible for religious beliefs or practices.
  • Employers can require proof of the vaccination but must ask employees not to provide any other medical-related info.
  • Employers should not immediately terminate an employee for refusing the vaccine. Instead, seek more details before moving forward or consider a remote work option. 

The key move with any employment decision is to take your time and consider all angles. Before jumping to any extreme action, contact your HR business partner at Nextep (or another qualified advisor) to weigh your options and find a solution that works for both employer and employee.

Nextep’s HR experts are preparing training material to view on demand soon. If you have any questions about how these guidelines impact your business, contact your HR business partner or call us at 888.811.5150. Find more COVID-19 info on our resources page

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