The short answer is yes, you can have a policy that requires employees get a COVID vaccination (or other vaccinations, such as a flu shot). Whether you decide to require it is up to you. I haven’t seen anything that shows that employers will be required to have their employees get the vaccine outside of the health care sector. However, that isn’t the end of the discussion.
An employee can refuse the vaccination under certain conditions. 1) the vaccination is against a sincerely-held religious belief or 2) they have a medical condition (e.g. allergy, underlying health condition, pregnancy) where the shot is medically contraindicated.
For medical issues, the process is similar to an ADA accommodation request. You just need a Dr’s note, essentially. It is less stringent for the religious exemption. Those are dealt with on a case by case manner to determine if what the employee submits as justification is enough.
This article is intended for general purposes and should not be considered legal advice. If you would like to implement a vaccine policy, our team of attorneys will advise you on these issues in our ASK HR and ASK Pro subscriptions. Learn more
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