The COVID-19 vaccine has been widely available to Americans for several months. Yet, many haven’t committed to taking it for one reason or another.
Many employers are making plans to have their workers return to the office following a long gap, and quite a few of those companies are requiring their workers to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 before doing so. This has left many workers wondering if their employers really can mandate the vaccine — or not.
What does the law say about employers mandating COVID-19 shots?
COVID-19 has left us all adjusting to the “new” normal. Lawmakers, employers and employees have all had to adjust to a constant change in circumstances during this pandemic.
There aren’t currently any laws on the books that address whether employers can say that only vaccinated employees can return to work. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that such a decision belongs to private businesses, local and state governments.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), however, has recently issued its own guidance stating that employers do have a legal right to mandate shots if they want. They’ve previously circulated the same guidance regarding flu shots while allowing workers to claim medical or religious exemptions.
What are your workplace rights regarding the COVID-19 vaccine?
The situation with mandated vaccines to return to work is in flux, much like everything else related to the virus, and it’s difficult to know where you stand at any given point under the law.
If you believe that your rights as an employee were violated by your employer, it may be time to investigate a little further. An experienced advocate can help you better understand your position and your legal options.