Is My Employer Permitted to Ask Questions About My COVID-19 Vaccination Status, or Require That I Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19?
Yes. Disability discrimination is illegal so, in general, employers may not ask employees medical questions that might reveal the existence of a physical or mental disability. There are certain exceptions to this rule. Asking about an employee’s COVID-19 vaccination status is one of them. Discrimination laws do not prohibit employers from requiring all employees who physically enter the workplace to be vaccinated. It is not illegal for an employer to ask employees to provide documentation or other proof of vaccination. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued guidance the relationship between COVID-19 vaccination status and federal employment laws. The guidance can be viewed here.What if I Have a Disability or Religious Beliefs That Prevent Me From Being Vaccinated?
Some people are unable to tolerate COVID-19 vaccines due to a disability. Some people have sincerely held religious beliefs that prevent them from getting vaccinated. Employees with disabilities and religious belief that prevent them from being vaccinated are entitled to reasonable accommodation.Reasonable Accommodations Are Decided an a Case-by-Case Basis
If an employee who cannot be vaccinated for disability-related or religious reasons has the ability to perform the essential functions of their job from home, that might be a reasonable accommodation. Working in a separate office or location is another possibility.
If an employee who cannot be vaccinated for disability-related or religious reasons has a job that involves working near other employees and/or the public, they are entitled to continue working unless they pose a “direct threat” to the health and safety of others. Determining whether a direct threat exists can include the proportion of employees in the workplace who are already partially or fully vaccinated against COVID-19. It also includes the extent to which the employee has contact with non-employees whose vaccination status is probably unknown or who may be ineligible for the vaccine.
If you believe that your employee may have been violated you should consult a lawyer who specializes in employment law.