Are you wondering whether it is legal for employers to mandate COVID-19 vaccines—the question is a bit cloudy. Maybe if the employer’s vaccination policy stays within the most recent public health guidelines, like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Maybe a proof of vaccination requirement is legal. Maybe mandates are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act—maybe not.
If you feel like your workplace has become unsafe, the Los Angeles employment law attorneys at Rager & Yoon – Employment Lawyers are here to sort it out. Our successful track record speaks for itself. Our legal team can devise a plan of attack and position you to make the best decisions.
Explaining vaccination mandates
All the COVID-19 vaccines are currently operating under the FDA Emergency Use Authorization. This authorization contends anyone considering the vaccine must be educated about the benefits and the risks. In the end, the individual and their healthcare providers should make the decision whether to vaccinate.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, an employer must create policies promoting healthy and safe workplaces for individuals by ensuring other individuals do not pose a threat to that health or safety.
According to the tenants of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), employers can mandate employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. They might also require employees to show proof of vaccination if these attempts create and ensure safe and healthy workplaces.
In the past, the EEOC has allowed companies to create policies that include flu and other vaccines. It seems likely that same may happen with COVID-19 vaccines.
Some companies are even offering incentives for vaccinations. They are compiling this vaccination data to track transmissions and inform decisions like:
- Daily procedures
- Staff size
- Future business decisions
Providing proof of vaccination does not violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) because sensitive patient information is not being disclosed by a third party, like insurance companies, without the patient’s permission.
An employee may object because of:
- Religious reasons
- Health reasons
- Unsafe work environments
Vaccine mandates might be excused with a reasonable objection, and if the employee works for an employer with 15 or more employees. The employer may be required to provide reasonable accommodations unless it poses significant difficulty or expense. Additionally, it is unlawful to retaliate against employees who complain about unsafe working conditions.
These objections may be stronger if employees are represented in unions. A vaccine requirement might need to be negotiated by unions and employers before coming to a mutual agreement.
When should I contact a lawyer?
If an employee suffers an on-the-job injury because of employer negligence in providing a safe work environment, or if an employee suffers from injuries or sickness due to an employer’s vaccine requirement, the employee might be entitled to workers’ compensation.
Do not remain silent if you feel like your workplace or your employers have neglected your wellbeing or put you at risk. The Los Angeles employment law lawyers at Rager & Yoon – Employment Lawyers are here to investigate your case with care, compassion, and conviction. Contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or calling us at 310-527-6994.