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Updated COVID Vaccination Guidelines

February 11, 2021
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Lynne Curry at Workplace Coach Blog has posted updates to the EEOC's December 2020 guidelines for employee COVID vaccinations. While employers can implement and enforce mandatory vaccination policies, beware of conditions:

  • Since current vaccine authorizations are "emergency use" the FDA requires that employees be informed they have the option to accept or refuse.
  • Requirements must be job related, a business necessity and do not violate employee rights under an employment contract or a collective bargaining agreement.
  • Employee requests for exemption due to disability or religious reasons must be accommodated unless the employee is a threat to him/herself or others.

Although not mentioned in the blog, current delays and supply shortages are another reason for employers not to rush mandatory vaccinations.

In the past OSHA has upheld mandatory vaccinations as a legitimate workplace health and safety measure. However, there is a difference between approved flu vaccinations and emergency use only authorizations for COVID-19.

The best policy is to encourage vaccination through employee education and incentives.