Employment Law Update: COVID-19 Vaccines

12.21.2020

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued two emergency use authorizations for COVID-19 vaccines in the United States. The federal government is distributing vaccines to states and initial doses are being administered. Public and private employers are starting to consider whether to require their employees to get the vaccine. This issue involves many federal and state laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), pregnancy discrimination statutes, and other statutes. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently updated its COVID-19 guidance to help employers with this issue. For more information from the EEOC, click to visit.

Employers are encouraged to review the FDA vaccine fact sheets, EEOC guidance, and the most recent guidance from applicable state and federal regulators. Organizations can start or continue discussing whether to require the vaccine or proof of vaccination, but may want to finalize policies after the vaccine is more widely available for its employees or industry. Depending on the industry and the individual’s job duties, there are risks whether the organization requires the vaccine, adopts a voluntary vaccination program, or refrains from asking employees whether they are vaccinated.

For assistance developing your organization’s policy and process, including whether your organization can or should require the vaccine for some or all of your employees, contact Kay Oskvig at 515-288-6041, click to email Kay, or click to schedule a meeting.

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