In recent weeks, several major companies have started issuing COVID-19 vaccination requirements for employees, as the highly contagious Delta variant spreads across the country.
You can see a list of those companies here.
“We have received waves and waves of calls regarding this issue,” said Freddy Perera, a South Florida labor and employment attorney.
Perera said the Department of Justice and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have both said companies can obligate employees to be vaccinated.
You can read more about the EEOC guidance here.
“What’s important to keep in mind, however, is that the Department of Justice and EEOC are not courts of law,” he said. “Therefore, it doesn’t have the power of law.”
But, Perera added, that recent challenges to company vaccine mandates, including one in Texas involving dozens of healthcare workers, have not been successful.
“The trend has definitely been that employers can require employees to be vaccinated,” he said.
But, he said, there were two exceptions under the law: one for employees with a medical condition that places them at a higher risk if they got the vaccine, the other deals with religious beliefs.
“If an employee has a sincerely held religious belief that prevents them or prohibits them from receiving the vaccine,” Perera said.
He said your employer can ask if you’re vaccinated and require you show proof. But there are some limits on what types of information they can request, he said.
“Your employer requiring you to share your test result with respect to antibodies is not proper,” he said.
Right now, COVID-19 vaccines have only received emergency use authorization. But, the FDA could give Pfizer’s vaccine final approval by early next month.
“I fully expect that if and when these vaccines receive FDA approval, you’re going to see an incredible uptick of employers obligating the employees to receive the vaccinations,” he said.
He also said as more large companies start to issue COVID vaccination requirements for employees, he expects a greater number of medium-sized and small businesses to do the same.
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