Lawyer: Companies can require employees to get COVID vaccines

Written by on February 9, 2021

Lawyer: Companies can require employees to get COVID vaccines

By Brittany Sweeney

February 9, 2021

Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels

As the COVID-19 vaccine becomes more readily available to the general public, more companies will bring employees back into their buildings. Some are already considering implementing vaccination policies.

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Many companies, especially health care providers, require staff to get the flu shot every year, but can they require employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Philadelphia Atty. David Koller, who has clients in the Lehigh Valley, says the simple answer is yes.

Koller specializes in labor issues and workplace rights and says mandatory vaccine policies are nothing new.

“As long as it doesn’t violate laws, it’s fine,” Koller says. “So think of like a company that has a grooming policy, or an attendance policy, then you think of the laws that it might implicate like a grooming policy or a uniform policy might implicate religious preferences or accommodations that are necessary.”

Koller says the key to implementing a vaccine policy is communicating it effectively.

“If you implement a policy that requires vaccinations, best practices would probably suggest that you should do that in writing and you should also make available in writing, I would suggest, an accommodation form that employees can complete,” he says.

“Companies can require you to get the vaccine, but they also have to make sure that it doesn’t interfere with the Americans with Disabilities Act,” he says. 

The attorney says those looking to do so should refer to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for guidance.

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