Employers can require COVID-19 vaccine, EEOC says

Employers can legally require staff to receive a COVID-19 vaccine before returning to their place of work, according to updated guidelines from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers are permitted to impose "a requirement that an individual shall not pose a direct threat to the health or safety of individuals in the workplace," the EEOC said in a Dec. 16 guideline.  

However, employers must provide a "reasonable accommodation" for employees who have a disability or sincere religious beliefs that forbid vaccinations. Accommodations may include temporarily changing an employee's job duties, modifying work schedules or installing plexiglass barriers to separate employees, according to the commission.

If a reasonable accommodation cannot be made, and the unvaccinated employee poses a "direct threat" to other employees' health and safety, employers may prevent the individual from entering the workplace. However, this is not grounds to automatically terminate the employee, the EEOC said.

To learn more, click here.

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