On Wednesday, December 16, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued updated guidance for employers about their rights and duties with respect to the COVID-19 vaccine. The EEOC enforces workplace antidiscrimination laws including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and the Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act. Yesterday’s EEOC guidance answers questions for employers such as what to do if an employee states they cannot be vaccinated because of a disability or a sincerely held religious practice or belief, permissible pre-vaccination screening questions, and employment medical record keeping.
Of course, as reported, the vaccine is not in widespread use yet, but employers should begin to consider plans and procedures for the eventuality that their workforce will have the option (or will be required because of the nature of their work) to be vaccinated. Employers should be making determinations about whether their organization can require employees to be vaccinated and preparing forms for employees to request for a reasonable accommodation from the vaccine if they are required to receive it. Our team of lawyers stands ready to assist you with navigating these complex issues and will continue to monitor the news about the vaccine and further state and federal guidance.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.
This legal update was prepared by Attorneys Amy L. Reasner, Emily K. Ellingson and Holly A. Corkery.