The EEOC recently provided guidance to employers, clearing up a few key questions
regarding vaccinations in the workplace.
Can an employer require its employees to be vaccinated for
The federal equal employment opportunity laws do not prevent an employer from requiring
employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19, as long as the employer complies with
reasonable accommodation requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act and
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
If an employee requests a reasonable accommodation because of a disability or a
sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance, the employer and the employee
should engage in a flexible, interactive process to identify accommodations that do not
pose an undue hardship on the employer’s business. Reasonable accommodations may
include allowing unvaccinated employees to socially distance, wear a face mask, or
telework, if feasible.
If an employer receives proof that an employee has been vaccinated, the employer should
keep the information private and confidential. Vaccine records are protected by the
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Can an employer encourage or incentivize its workers to get
An employer is allowed to provide educational information about the COVID-19 vaccine to
its employees and can incentivize workers to get vaccinated.
However, if an employer offers incentives to employees for receiving a vaccination
administered by the employer or its agent, the EEOC guidance specifies that the incentive
should not be “so substantial as to be coercive.”
Moreover, if an employer offers voluntary vaccinations to employees, the employer must
comply with federal EEO laws and not discriminate based on any protected basis.
If you have questions about your policies and procedures regarding vaccinating your
workforce, or need assistance handling requests for reasonable accommodation,
contact Nicole Gardner today.