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EEOC Injects Guidance on COVID-19 Vaccine Practices in the Workplace


… “a requirement that an individual shall not pose a direct threat to the health or safety of individuals in the workplace.” Employers can require employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine, but must allow for exceptions where employees are unable to receive the vaccine because of either disabilities or sincerely held religious beliefs…
… Unlike the presence of a COVID-19 positive employee, the EEOC does not conclude that the presence of an unvaccinated employee in the workplace poses a direct threat. Rather, the burden falls on the employer to conduct an individualized assessment of the risk by considering four factors: (1) the duration of the risk; (2) the nature and severity of the potential harm; (3) the likelihood that the potential harm will occur; and (4) the imminence of the potential harm…

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Editor Comment:

Now that vaccines are approved and in the pipeline it is time for employers to decide whether they will be required for all or certain workplace employees. I hope that these December 16, 2020 EEOC Guidelines will be more consistent than previous CDC and other workplace COVID-19 guidelines. So far, corporations continue to face potential liability relating to their safety policies/practice. Now they have to develop a vaccine policy that balances safety, risk and privacy concerns. I am calling out the section on employer provided vaccines for a careful read. I agree with the authors that many employers may pull back from directly providing vaccines in light of the ADA privacy concerns.

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