On May 28, 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued new guidance on its COVID-19 policy, stating that federal laws do not prevent employers from requiring workers to get vaccinated.
However, when it comes to employees who aren’t vaccinated due to a disability or religious beliefs, employers must provide reasonable accommodation, such as offering face masks, ensuring they work at a social distance, or giving them the ability to work remotely.
Furthermore, the updated guidelines also say that federal laws don’t limit or prevent employers from offering incentives to workers who take the vaccine voluntarily, so long as such incentives are not forcible in nature. Several employers have already offered cash bonuses to employees who take a COVID-19 shot.
The EEOC also understands that some individuals and demographic groups may face increased difficulties obtaining a COVID-19 vaccine compared to others, which is why it noted that applying a vaccination requirement in a manner that treats workers differently because of their race, color, national origin, age, sex, disability, or religion would be unlawful. Additionally, the agency stated that local and state laws may also determine vaccination requirements.
However, employers could face hiring challenges from workers who do not want to be vaccinated. According to The Wall Street Journal, many employers are experiencing difficulties filling open positions. A lack of available job applicants could make employers in certain industries reluctant to enforce vaccination requirements.
If you are dealing with a federal employment law issue in Atlanta, Baltimore, or Houston, contact Pines Federal today at (800) 801-0598 and get a legal team with more than 50 years of combined experience on your side!