Companies could legally require employees to get vaccinated
FORT MYERS, Fla. — More and more people are getting vaccinated from the coronavirus every single day. That means getting life back to normal, and for many, back to work.
But can your employer ask if you got your vaccine? Or even more, can your work require you to get a shot?
“Yes,” says Attorney Lance Dunford, a partner at the Law Firm of Scott T. Moorey. “The simple answer is yes.”
Employers can even go as far as to see your vaccine card, despite Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive order against vaccine passports.
“What’s on this vaccination card does not give any information that would be protected,” said Dunford.
This information comes from an update to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s guidance to employers.
The federal agency is also rolling out the rules for requiring the immunizations.
NBC-2’s Gage Goulding: “Can an employer require that all of its employees receive the vaccine? Is that legal?”
Lance Dunford: “So they can ask and that’s something that the article touches on. But where we do have a kind of muddying of the water is legally.”
If your religion, a medical condition or disability, or any other protected class prevents you from getting a vaccine, your employer can’t require or punish you.
If you just don’t want to get it, you luck would run out.
“Your own personal preference is not a protected class. Your employer does not have to accommodate you,” said Dunford.
For some, that’s a deal breaker.
Gage: “Would you quit your job over that?”
Jamie Kreager: “Yeah, I probably would. That’s taking away my choice. If that’s their choice then I’m sorry that they lost a good employee.”
Do the same legal protections that allow employers to require the vaccine work the other way around? Meaning, could employers prohibit employees from getting the shots, such as a Miami area private school did earlier this year?
“It would seem the answer right now would be yes,” said Dunford.
To retired worker Robert Lazaris, it wouldn’t be worth quitting a job, but he would bend the rules.
“I would take the vaccine,” said Lazaris. “They ain’t going to know about it, if I took it or not.”
While it’s never a good idea to lie to your employer, there are some major companies adopting the idea.
Delta Airlines recently said it’s mandating the COVID-19 vaccine for all new employees.
However, Delta said it won’t make current employees get the shot if they don’t want to.
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