December 16, 2020

EEOC Speaks – Did You Listen? COVID-19 Vaccinations

Can an employer require employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine? If so, who, when, why and how? On December 16th, the EEOC published nine (9) new Q & A’s related to COVID-19 vaccinations and how they are impacted by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act (GINA). The EEOC already addressed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) in prior guidance.

The #1 question I am hearing is, “Can an employer require its employees to get vaccinated?”  The EEOC does not answer this question directly. It does, however, address at least three questions that ask about implications if an employer does require employees to be vaccinated.  By implication, it seems the answer is a qualified, “Yes.”

Subsequently, however, the employer must be willing to consider granting a reasonable accommodation if an employee objects to being vaccinated for a religious or medical reason.  The EEOC also gives some guidance for employers that are considering giving the vaccines (likely healthcare providers) as compared to requiring employees to show proof that they have been vaccinated.

To read more, click here and scroll down to Section K.  For questions about the PDA, see Section J.