Employers Requiring Employees To Be Vaccinated
November 17, 2020
As we enter flu season, and as it now appears that a COVID-19 vaccine is on the horizon, employers should be mindful of compliance concerns regarding employees being required to receive certain vaccinations. If an employer mandates that its employees receive a vaccine, it can expect to receive push back from some of its employees. Some push back may be for political reasons, some may be out of fear, and some may be due to disability or religious concerns. Federal law requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to applicants or employees that object to receiving a vaccination because of a disability or religious beliefs, unless the accommodation would impose undue hardship on the employer. It is also important to note that courts have broadly interpreted both “disability” and “religion” in the mandatory vaccination context. For example, at least one federal court has held that veganism can constitute a sincerely-held religious belief exempting an employee from an employer requirement to be inoculated with a vaccine containing albumen from chicken eggs.