The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) released guidance regarding mandating COVID-19 vaccinations under federal equal employment laws. This guidance helps to provide some information about your rights, your employer, and the vaccination.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), your employer is permitted to require that an employee not pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others in their place of work. It could be found that such a threat exists by finding that an unvaccinated person would create an increased likelihood of potential exposure of others in the workplace to COVID-19.
If your employer does mandate that employees receive the vaccination, there are several issues to consider. First, they would have to show that an unvaccinated employee would pose a direct threat of substantial harm to the health or safety of others. Second, if you have a disability that necessitates your not receiving the vaccine, your employer would have to show that this threat cannot be reasonably reduced or eliminated by some sort of reasonable accommodation for your disability. Such a reasonable accommodation may include working from home, depending upon your job duties. If you have an objection to receiving the vaccine due to a sincerely held religious belief, your employer must provide a reasonable accommodation, which could include working for home, unless it would impose upon your employer an undue hardship.
If you have questions about requiring the COVID vaccine at your workplace, or other concerns about returning to work, the Queens employment discrimination attorneys at Ricotta & Marks, P.C. are here to help. Please contact us at 347-464-8694.