Employment Discrimination Help

Covid-19 Vaccination Mandate and Employee’s Rights

New York Employment Attorney Alena Shautsova

Employment Discrimination


The innovation of the Covid-19 vaccine and the vaccination process have raised eyebrows among many people, especially employees across the globe. Everybody seems to have their opinion regarding the coronavirus jab. However, all employees have their rights when it comes to Covid-19 vaccination.

Following the ongoing discussions in the employment sector, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has updated the coronavirus vaccination rules for employees. It is meant to leverage all the views and rumors spread all over the globe. The commission has revealed that it is enforcing and not prohibiting employers from requiring all their employees to receive the jab.

In addition, all the employers that require their employees to receive the jab should consider a reasonable accommodation for those employees who refuse to take the vaccine due to medical reasons. These might be due to pregnancy, religious beliefs, or the jab might impact their daily operations.

Sometimes, employers get it hard to decide since the employees might have a uniform argument against the vaccine. According to the chief attorney in the united states, the employer needs to talk to the union before mandating the jab. Despite all the beliefs and arguments revolving around the Covid-19 vaccination, there are things that employers need to consider. Let’s rock!

Religious Accommodation

The law gives employers the responsibility to accommodate their employees sincerely with their religious beliefs. They need to practice full observance over them unless the accommodation causes undue hardship to the business operations. According to courts, undue hardship is mainly caused by small concessions that are expensive, thus being a burden to the employer.

Note that the legal definition of religion is considered from different perspectives. It mainly focuses on protecting a given religion and its beliefs as well as practices. When an employee requests religious accommodation from an employer who does not know much about the specified religion, they are likely to seek more information before uttering the final word.

If an employee refuses to receive the jab due to their religious beliefs, employers can exclude the employee from the workplace. However, this does not mean that an employee can be automatically terminated from the workplace. The employer needs to find out if there are any other laws applied on the same case.

Disability Accommodation

Whenever an employee refuses to take the jab, the employer is responsible for evaluating this objection to the business operations. Note that this is only applied in job places where employers are strict on receiving the jab. The Covid-19 vaccine needs to be mandated with the job and consistent with the business.

In workplaces where there are employees with disabilities, an employer can choose to create a workplace policy that states that the individual does not pose any direct threat to the health status of other employees. Employers need to come up with specific documents that will secure the well-being of employees with disabilities.

Employers can consider the factors aligned below when evaluating the risk that the Covid-19 jab imposes on consumers.

  • The probability of the harm to occur.
  • The duration of the risk.
  • The severity and nature of the risk.

It is evident that a particular employer is not vaccinated; they pose a significant risk to the well-being of the workplace. The employer needs to evaluate respective accommodation for the well-being of the workplace. The accommodation might include allowing employees to work from home to enhance safety standards.

Managers and workplace supervisors need to communicate with all the employees on matters of compliance. Also, employers should learn how to create and organize accommodation requests for their employees. It should involve full consideration of the request and on whom it is referring.

Encouraging Vaccination

When an employer wants all his employees to be vaccinated, he can opt to create a written policy elaborating more about the same. Besides, for the employees who refuse to be vaccinated, the employer should look for a reason behind their rejection. Sometimes, employees might come with legally protected reasons.

In most cases, the legally protected reasons do not require reasonable accommodation from the employer. Employers who consider mandating the vaccine should come up with severe considerations regarding the issue. If a significant percentage of the employees refuse to comply with the rules, the employer has no option but to adhere to the mandate and terminate the employees.

Alternatively, they might opt to deviate from the given mandate for various employees. However, this is likely to increase the risk in terms of discrimination. Despite all the risks imposed by employees not complying with the mandate, employers can take responsibility and encourage them on why taking the jab is essential.

Bottom Line

All the employees have the right to take the coronavirus jab. However, it is vital to be mindful of the presented regulations by the health sector, the law opinion, and the employer's decision.

You can check the most recent updates from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on COVID-19 vaccination requirements here.

EEOC Religious accommodation request form.