The EEOC Releases Guidelines on Mandatory Workplace Vaccinations

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued brief guidelines for how businesses can approach Covid-19 vaccinations with their employees today, December 16, 2020. While these guidelines will undoubtedly change as more information becomes available, the advice is consistent with previous vaccinations (like flu shots).

Jeff Nowak, an employment attorney with Littler says, 

“As we might have predicted, EEOC generally has given the green light to employers to require that their employees obtain a COVID-19 vaccine with potential exceptions for ADA and religious accommodations.  

Notably, employers who wish to exclude from the workplace those employees who refuse the vaccine will have to show that these individuals pose a direct threat.  In the middle of a pandemic, this hurdle is unlikely to be burdensome, but it’s hardly a free pass for employers.”

To break this down a little bit, here are some of the highlights from the new guidelines.

Click here to read: The EEOC Releases Guidelines on Mandatory Workplace Vaccinations

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18 thoughts on “The EEOC Releases Guidelines on Mandatory Workplace Vaccinations

  1. First of all, aside from those who have a disability that prevents them from getting this vaccine or the other exception using religious objection, the public is expected to get this vaccine because of the public health classification –falls under the reason why people had to get the smallpox vaccination or the measles vaccination. I am glad this article shows a guidance policy for employers to follow, especially when there will be those employees who will not want to take the vaccine, for whatever reasons. Having a medical checklist protocol is useful knowledge to give for all the questions, employees will have. It also helps that the employer has provided a medical-type facility where both the medical pre-quiz evaluation and vaccine administration can occur, as the cost of this is covered. The only thing I see problematic is those small businesses that don’t offer an employer healthcare program that all participate in, which means the employees will be going to different facilities to get the vaccine, but the paperwork for the vaccinations is going to be the same across the nation.

  2. Well so far getting the vaccine doesn’t mean you won’t get the virus, doesn’t mean you won’t transmit it and means status quo for the current pandemic I see no reason for anyone but the most vulnerable to get it – so force me? Why?

    1. If you want to make stuff up, then nothing anyone is going to say is going to make a difference. So why do you expect anyone to waste their time telling you anything.

      1. I’m not making any thing up. Visit who or cdc and look at information about the vaccine. It is way too early to have answers to these questions.

        If we don’t know if it stops transmission, we don’t know if it prevents you from getting it – then again I ask why get it?

        At my company we can work from home – easy to continue that rather than force employees to get a vaccine that was rushed.

      2. Blanket statements don’t change facts:

        As of 11/1 of this year (taken directly from Johns Hopkins):
        US population: 330,500,000 (approx)
        Cases: 9,126,361
        Deaths: 230,556
        Percentage of cases to population: 3%
        Percentage of death to cases: 2.5%
        Probability of contracting: .028
        Probability of death if contracted: .025
        Probability of death (all cause): .001

        Any may I remind everyone that a majority of those deaths were people that had co-morbidity. Is it sad, sure. But the numbers tell a different story that this thing is nowhere near the calamity and hysteria that’s been pushed.

        So, as a risk management exercise I find the cost/benefit to fall on the side of NOT getting it.

    2. It doesn’t mean you won’t get the virus. But I’ll be delighted at being 90% less likely to get it. I’m quite healthy but I could still end up one of the unlucky ones living with covid’s neurological aftermath: ongoing fatigue, constant headaches and the inability to focus long enough to cope with life’s daily tasks much less to work. That’d be like skipping over most of life and going straight to very old age. While they don’t know yet whether the vaccine will reduce asymptomatic transmission, it’s likely to. I’d be glad to take a chance on it even before they know to help protect the life of my immune-compromised husband. My vaccination is likely to do more to protect him and my friends, neighbors, and coworkers than to protect me. For the sake of people like my husband who can’t be protected by vaccine, I’m hoping that most people who can take it will.

      1. So then aren’t you the candidate to take the vaccine and be happy about it? If I am not compromised and am young and healthy why should I have to take it? You took it to protect yourself so me not taking it should not affect you right?

        1. Give it up, Typhoid Mary. The young and healthy ones who think none of this applies to them are a major reason why America is going to end up losing half-a-million of our population — mostly unnecessarily — to this pandemic.

          1. Typhoid Mary. I wear a mask, work from home, don’t go to bars, fly, eat out. No one is getting anything from me – I am also not young – 59. So wrong on all counts. I always get a flu shot, but not wanting to get this vaccine quite so soon –

            1. You’re the one who said, “If I am not compromised and am young and healthy why should I have to take it?” You also claimed that you’re not getting vaccinated would not affect others. In order to establish herd immunity to COVID-19, a high percentage of the population will need to be vaccinated, with the estimates I’ve seen ranging from 70-85%. As the virus continues to mutate and become even more transmissible, that’s the only way we’re going to be able to curb this pandemic. I always get a flu shot, too, and recognize that each year’s flu vaccine is formulated anew, and administered soon after approved, just like these new coronavirus ones. If anything, we should be more eager to get the COVID-19 vaccine, since it’s more effective than the vast majority of flu shots, and the coronavirus is so much more contagious and deadly than the flu.

            2. This vaccine just barely came out – they don’t know how effective it is yet – and yes the young and healthy will probably not get the vaccine. If they don’t work in the medical field, aren’t going to school etc it is very unlikely that they will be forced to get it just like they don’t get the flu vaccine. Those people who are the most vulnerable should and will which hopefully will protect them. And this is the priority for the vaccine being given currently.

      2. I’m a bit unclear on the terminology here. Does the 90% number mean you are, as an individual, 90% less likely to get ill from the virus? Or does it mean that 90% of the people who are vaccinated do not get ill from the virus (within a certain time window)? It doesn’t really matter–the vaccine is still important to get–I’m just unclear how that number is calculated.

  3. If an employer does not currently mandate vaccinations how can they mandate the covid vaccine? How can they legally verify what vaccinations employees have received to date? If an employee suffers an adverse reaction does this then become an OSHA recordable?

  4. I can see where it would be in an employers best interest to mandate vaccinations. It costs way less than employee absence and lost productivity. BTW – I believe the COVID vaccine itself is free of charge. There may be administration fees though. I am guessing most major drug store chains will offer it either free or at a nominal fee.

  5. By requiring this, employers are taking on responsibility for any problems caused by the vaccine.

    1. Not a lawyer: The US has the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Anyone who is injured as a result of a covered vaccine may be compensated. This was started to avoid vaccine shortages and holding schools and employers accountable for mandatory vaccinations.

    2. By not requiring employees to be vaccinated, employers are taking on the responsibility of not providing a safe workplace for their employees.

      1. There’s precedent for this. Given the nature of my work I have had to have a number of vaccines, as part of the OSHA requirements for safe work places. There are work-arounds if someone absolutely refuses to get the vaccine (there are religious exemptions), but often the work-around is not pleasant. I knew a guy who, for religious reasons, could not shave, on a site where rescue respirators were located every 50 feet in case of emergency. The work-around was that if anything went wrong, he was to immediately don Level A PPE. In the South. Regardless of time of year. He thought it was worth it, but me? I shave. I know another person who refused some vaccines, and they weren’t allowed to work on certain sites. Eventually they found that they didn’t have enough work to remain employed at the company. It wasn’t an attack against that person, it’s just the nature of the work.

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