As more and more COVID-19 vaccinations become available, employers are eager to get back to normal and mandate vaccines. However, there are a number of Americans who are hesitant to take the vaccine–especially employees with disabilities. Employers have strict laws they must follow regarding COVID-19 vaccinations. Our federal employment law attorney breaks it down for you below.
EEOC Updates & COVID-19 Vaccines
As the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has approved, for emergency use, the first COVID-19 vaccine, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) made updates to address vaccination issues. Below we list the different updates the EEOC made regarding the COVID-19 vaccines:
- A Vaccination Is Not a Medical Examination: Employers are prohibited from requesting employees to take a medical examination. However, the EEOC does not consider vaccinations as a medical examination. Therefore, vaccinations can be mandated (with exception).
- Proof of Vaccination Is Not a Disability-Related Inquiry: According to the EEOC, employers are allowed to ask employees for proof of vaccination. However, employers should avoid inadvertently requesting disability-related information.
- Vaccinations Can Be Required Under the ADA: The EEOC states that the “ADA allows an employer to have a qualification standard that includes a requirement that an individual shall not pose a direct threat to the health or safety of individuals in the workplace.” Therefore, an employer can mandate vaccinations from employees. If an employer can prove that an unvaccinated employee would pose a threat to the health and safety of others, they can state that the threat can’t be eliminated or reduced by reasonable accommodation.
- Accommodating Disabilities: If an employee cannot be vaccinated due to disability ( including pregnancy), the EEOC states that the employer cannot exclude the employee from the workplace, unless there is no way to provide a reasonable accommodation that would eliminate or reduce the risk.
If you are having vaccination issues with your federal employer, contact our federal employment law attorneys today at (800) 801-0598 to schedule a consultation!