Employment lawyer: Employers can require employees to get vaccinated

Written by on June 7, 2021

Employment lawyer: Employers can require employees to get vaccinated

By Brittany Sweeney

June 7, 2021

Photo by Spencer Davis on Unsplash

Can an employer require employees to get vaccinated?  The simple answer is yes.

Listen to the story.

George Hlavac is an Allentown attorney who specializes in employment and unfair labor practices. 

He says employers can have a mandatory vaccination policy and can make it a condition of employment for somebody to come back to work. 

Employers must be willing, however, to accommodate people who have concerns based upon medical or religious reasons.

“Have the procedure in place for people to make accommodation requests, make sure they understand that they won’t be retaliated against for making an accommodation request. Make sure that your supervisors and managers are trained in terms of how to handle accommodation requests,” Hlavac says.

Furthermore, he says, there are several valid reasons employees may not want the vaccine.

“If somebody has a bonafide religious objection to the vaccine, or they cannot get the vaccine because of a medical reason, a disability reason, you have to attempt to accommodate that individual,” Hlavac says.

For those asking if this is a violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Hlavac says no because the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says this is not a medical inquiry. 

So employers can ask for proof of the vaccine.

The attorney also says employers looking to create a vaccination policy need to make sure they have the procedure in writing before it’s implemented.

He adds he’s only seen a small percentage of his clients require vaccinations in order for people to return to work.

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