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Employees Required to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine?

Although for most of us, it will be some time in the future before we can receive the Covid-19 vaccination, we must ask ourselves if we must be vaccinated to keep our jobs? Historically, vaccinations have been required at work places, schools and daycare centers for other medical conditions/issues. What about now?

On December 12, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released a “guidance” on the Covid -19 vaccination stating that employers can require workers to get vaccinated so long as the employer has reasonably determined that vaccinations are needed to protect health and safety in the workplace. Employees who decline or refuse to get the vaccination must show legitimate religious beliefs or some physical disability for not obtaining the vaccine. If unable to do so, the employee may be looking for new work.

If legitimate religious or disability reasons exist, an employer must provide accommodations for its employee (remote work is an example), but only if the employer can reasonably do so.

What about an employee’s rights? Can an employee refuse to show up to work where Covid-19 vaccinations are not mandatory? What is the effect on the workplace when some get vaccinated and others don’t? Only time will tell. Ultimately, the goal is to make the workplace safe and healthy for employers and employees!

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