Recently, the Biden administration updated testing requirements for federal employees. The new guidelines from the government do not mandate COVID-19 screening tests for unvaccinated federal workers.
Consequently, unvaccinated federal employees do not need to undergo testing because of their vaccination status. Instead, all federal employees, both unvaccinated and vaccinated, are subject to the same safety protocols.
However, the Biden administration has not yet pivoted away from its COVID-19 vaccine requirement. And federal employees, especially those who are unvaccinated, continue to face serious infringements on their rights.
If you or a loved one are facing discipline or discrimination because of your vaccine status or because of your request for a medical or religious exemption, contact Pines Federal right away. One of our talented federal employment attorneys can help you make sense of your case and stand up for your rights.
An In-Depth Look at the Government’s New COVID-19 Test Requirements
Much of the federal government’s policy responses to COVID-19 originate from the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (SFWTF). And in August 2021, the SFWTF announced an update to its federal agency workplace safety protocols.
The SFWTF’s latest COVID-19 testing requirements require all agencies to stop screening COVID-19 test programs that differentiate between unvaccinated and vaccinated employees. General screening or testing programs that apply equally to unvaccinated and vaccinated employees can continue.
Similarly, all agencies should cease to inquire about employees’ or contractor employees’ vaccination status “where COVID-19 safety protocols do not vary based on vaccination status.” Finally, agencies are prohibited from requiring unvaccinated employees to quarantine after being exposed to the virus.
Several aspects of the government’s COVID-19 policies remain under the new guidance. Federal agencies must continue to require mask-wearing under certain conditions and monitor COVID-19 community levels for every federal facility.
Why Has the Government Changed Its Federal Employee Testing Requirements for COVID-19?
The updated policy resulted from the new COVID-19 recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC guidelines, which had also previously distinguished between unvaccinated and vaccinated Americans, recently moved away from that paradigm.
Now that virtually all Americans have resistance to COVID-19 because of either vaccination or natural immunity, the CDC found that it was not necessary to treat unvaccinated people differently. Another major reason for the CDC’s change in policy is the wide availability of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.
Do Federal Employees Still Need to Have a COVID-19 Vaccine?
Yes. The Biden administration still requires a COVID-19 vaccine for all federal workers. However, the vaccine requirement is on hold due to various judicial challenges. It is not clear exactly when the courts will make a final decision regarding the legality of the requirement.
Regardless, unvaccinated employees still have the right to seek reasonable accommodation for a medical condition that requires them to avoid the vaccine. Employees with religious or moral concerns also have the right to request exemptions based on their beliefs. Consult a qualified attorney to learn more about your situation.
Protect Your Rights with Pines Federal
The situation with the COVID-19 vaccine mandate is constantly changing. Federal agencies will not hesitate to push ahead with the wrong policy even if it violates your rights. If your agency is retaliating against you for filing a medical or religious exemption or discriminating against you because of your vaccine status, then it’s time to take action.
Here at Pines Federal, our attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of the fine federal servants. We have decades of experience taking on agencies and holding them accountable for breaking the law.
Our attorneys have worked with clients from every part of the country and obtained outstanding results for many of them. Don’t wait. Let us help you. Call us today at (800) 801-0598 or reach out to us online.