We have to learn what our law says, federally and in our state. We have to figure this out so we can be proactive rather than reactive. Legally, it is impossible for an employer to require a vaccine that is only authorized for EMERGENCY use (that is the case with Covid-19 vaccine at this time), but if the FDA approves Covid-19 vaccine for regular use in the future, I don’t know if our laws will protect us. Information obtained from NY Times:
According the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission’s guidance, issued 12/16/2020, confirmed employers can require a vaccine, because the administration of a Covid-19 vaccine to a worker by an employer doesn’t fit the definition of a ‘medical examination’ – see following for context:
The disabilities act limits employers’ ability to require medical examinations like blood tests, breath analyses and blood-pressure screening. These are procedures or tests, often given in a medical setting, that seek information about an employee’s physical or mental conditions.
“If a vaccine is administered to an employee by an employer for protection against contracting Covid-19, the employer is not seeking information about an individual’s impairments or current health status,” it stated, “and, therefore, it is not a medical examination.”
On its website, the commission said that requiring an employee to show proof of having gotten a Covid-19 vaccination would not amount to a disability-related inquiry.
“There are many reasons that may explain why an employee has not been vaccinated, which may or may not be disability-related,” the commission said.
Even so, employers may need to be careful about how they handle the process.
Prescreening vaccination questions could violate an A.D.A. provision on disability-related inquiries. Employers administering vaccines, the guidance said, must show that prescreening questions are “job related and consistent with business necessity.”