COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions CMA has received during the COVID-19 outbreak. By default, the most recent answers will appear up top. You can also filter the FAQ by category. We will update this resource regularly.

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Can an employer require its employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine before permitting them to enter the workplace?

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The EEOC recently issue COVID-19 vaccine guidance for employers that provides some clarity on workplace requirements about the COVID-19 vaccine. Although the EEOC guidance does not explicitly state that employer-mandated COVID-19 vaccine policies are lawful, the guidance is predicated on a scenario in which an employer has adopted such a policy and focuses on how an employer should respond to an employee who is unable or unwilling to be vaccinated. Thus, the EEOC guidance strongly implies that there is no legal prohibition on employer-mandated COVID-19 vaccine policies, provided certain requirements are satisfied.

Most importantly, the EEOC stated that the COVID-19 vaccination is not tantamount to a medical examination or a disability-related inquiry, both of which are generally prohibited by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).1 However, the EEOC clarified that "pre-screening vaccination questions may implicate the ADA's provision on disability-related inquiries." Therefore, if an employer requires its employees to receive the vaccine, administered by the employee (or a third party with whom the employer contracts to administer the vaccine), the employer must show that these disability-related screening inquiries are “job-related and consistent with business necessity.” This means that “an employer would need to have a reasonable belief, based on objective evidence, that an employee who does not answer the questions and, therefore, does not receive a vaccination, will pose a direct threat to the health or safety of her or himself or others.” The EEOC provided two notable exceptions to this requirement: 1) where the vaccine program is voluntary, and 2) when the employee receives an employer-mandated vaccine “from a third party that does not have a contract with the employer, such as a pharmacy or other healthcare provider.”

[1] The EEOC also clarified that requiring employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccination (even those using mRNA technology) is not prohibited or governed by the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).

| Categories: Labor and Personnel, Vaccine | Return

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