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Updated on June 23, 2022 9:27 pm
All countries
Updated on June 23, 2022 9:27 pm
All countries
Updated on June 23, 2022 9:27 pm

Global Statistics

All countries
Updated on June 23, 2022 9:27 pm
All countries
Updated on June 23, 2022 9:27 pm
All countries
Updated on June 23, 2022 9:27 pm
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Can Employer Ask For Proof Of Covid Vaccine

Can An Employee Be Fired For Refusing A Covid

Can employers require the COVID-19 vaccine and can they legally ask if you’ve been vaccinated?

As stated previously, the first thing an employer should do in the case of an objecting employee is to try to find some form of reasonable accommodation. If the two parties cannot settle on an accommodation that would allow the employee to continue work, the employer may wish to grant the employee a leave of absence.

Termination should certainly be a last resort, if it is considered at all. Whether or not termination is justified depends on the nature of the employees refusal and what state, federal, or local laws may apply. Any employer considering termination of an employee for refusing vaccination should consult legal counsel before carrying it out.¹

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Can Your Employer Ask For A Copy Of Your Vaccination Card

Proof of vaccination for customers at stores and restaurants is largely reliant on the honor system as unvaccinated customers are technically required to still wear masks.

But its a different situation at work.

While the rules arent much different, some employers are considering the conservative route and requiring workers to prove their vaccination status before going unmasked. Businesses are allowed to ask employees for a copy of their vaccination card, said Sean Egan, Michigan director of COVID-19 workplace safety.

Our understanding is that thats not protected health information, Egan said during a Q& A session with business owners.

The questions of allowing vaccinated workers to go unmasked and how to get proof of vaccinations has been the hot-button topic since Michigan announced changes to its workplace rules on Monday, May 24, said Southfield employment law attorney Nicole Foley.

Its not a violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act to ask for a copy of employees vaccination card, keep it on file and share peoples status with supervisors, Foley said.

Michigan gives employers four options when it comes to satisfying the requirement of making unvaccinated people still mask up when they cant consistently maintain 6 feet of distance from others.

Still, workers should be allowed to decline showing their vaccination card, Foley said.

These are the types of questions employers face as they navigate the return to work.

Can An Employer Take Disciplinary Action If An Employee Refuses To Get Vaccinated

An employer may be able to take disciplinary action, including termination of employment, against an employee for refusing to be vaccinated if the employees refusal is in breach of:

  • a specific law, or
  • a lawful and reasonable direction requiring vaccination.

Before taking any action, an employer should talk to the employee and discuss the employees reasons for not wanting to get vaccinated. For example, the employee may have a medical condition that means vaccination is not recommended for the employee.

Whether an employer can take disciplinary action will depend on the individual facts and circumstances. To work out if and how an employer can take disciplinary action, employers should consider the terms, obligations and rights under any applicable:

If an employee refuses a direction to be vaccinated, its unlikely that their employer can ‘stand down’ the employee under the Fair Work Act. Stand down is only available in certain circumstances. Learn more about standing down employees at Stand downs.

Further, employers generally dont have the power to suspend employees without pay unless an enterprise or other registered agreement, award or employment contract allows them to.

Employers should also consider getting legal advice in these situations.

Find more information see:

Also Check: How Long Cvs Covid Test Results

Can Employees Take Paid Time Off If They Feel Unwell After Being Vaccinated

Full-time and part-time employees can use paid sick leave if they can’t work because theyre unwell after being vaccinated.

If a full-time or part-time employee runs out of paid sick leave, they may be able to agree with their employer to access other paid leave entitlements, like annual leave, or to make other arrangements like taking unpaid leave.

Employers should also consider their obligations under any award, enterprise agreement or other registered agreement, employment contract or workplace policy, which could include extra rules about sick leave.

Casual employees dont get paid sick leave under the National Employment Standards. If a casual employee cant work because they feel unwell after being vaccinated, they can agree with their employer to adjust their work arrangements, for example, by changing their shift day or time.

Under the Fair Work Act, all employees are protected from adverse action because they have exercised or proposed to exercise their workplace rights.

Find out more about:

What Are My Rights If My Employer Requires A Covid


Under the ADA, employers are permitted to have a qualification standard that includes a requirement that an individual shall not pose a direct threat to the health or safety of individuals in the workplace. Since a vaccination requirement may screen out an individual with a disability, the employer must show that an unvaccinated employee would pose a direct threat due to significant risk of substantial harm to the health or safety of the individual or others that cannot be eliminated or reduced by reasonable accommodation.

In other words, if youre unable to get vaccinated due to a disability, and the employer concludes that you would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of yourself or others, then your employer should determine whether you may be entitled to a reasonable accommodation such as allowing you to perform your job remotely. This is the same type of analysis that employers make when physically excluding employees from a worksite due to current COVID-19 diagnosis or symptom. While some workers are entitled to work from home, others may not be able to do so. You should ask your employer what you need to do and if a reasonable accommodation can be made for you.

Also Check: How Long Does A Cvs Covid Test Take

Options Short Of Mandating Vaccination

Can we strongly encourage employees to accept vaccination?


Across all settings, employers are obliged under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to take reasonable steps to reduce any workplace risks. Encouraging uptake of the vaccination among employees to protect themselves and everyone else at the workplace is one way to reduce the risks.

Public Health England has issued guidance for employers explaining why employers should encourage vaccination and offering some guidance on how to do so.

Can we ask employees to share details about their vaccination status?

Yes, potentially, but you would be collecting special category health data so there are data protection issues to consider.

The Information Commissioners Office has published advice to organisations who are collecting vaccination status data confirming that collection of this data must be necessary and relevant for a specific purpose. However, it confirms that if there is a good reason for collecting the information, there is a lawful basis to process the data.

If you want to collect information about vaccination status you will nonetheless need a legal basis for doing so. The safest legal bases will be compliance with your legal obligations and substantial public interest. This means that preventing the spread of the virus and complying with your duty of care to employees need to be at the root of your justification rather than, for example, customer or staff preference or boosting confidence.

Can Employers Demand Vaccination

While employers can make vaccines necessary in their policies, whether those requirements would hold up if challenged is another matter, says Hermie Abraham, an employment lawyer and the owner of Advocation Professional Corporation.

Because the federal and provincial governments have so far refrained from making the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory, its unlikely that workplace policies that do so will stand if tested in court or through arbitration, Abraham says.

Read more: Vaccine uptick a chance to get Canadas most vulnerable a 2nd dose and sooner

Requiring a medical procedure such as a vaccine could be considered a breach of privacy or a human rights violation, says Lior Samfiru, partner at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP.

A legal kerfuffle between Torontos St. Michaels Hospital and the Ontario Nurses Association is a recent legal precedent for whether employers can mandate vaccinations, both Abraham and Samfiru say.

In 2018, an arbitrator struck down a policy by St. Michaels to force nurses who had not received the flu vaccine to wear surgical masks following a grievance filed by the ONA.

Read more: Canadas Medicago says its COVID-19 vaccine shows promising antibody results in trial

Arbitrator William Kaplan called the policy unsustainable and illogical given poor evidence that surgical masks prevent transmission of the flu and that the hospital did not require unvaccinated visitors to mask up, among other reasons.

Read Also: How Long Cvs Covid Test Results

Employers And Covid Vaccines Whats Legal And Whats Not

Ann C. HodgesProfessor of Law Emerita and Program Chair for Paralegal Studies at the School of Professional and Continuing Studies, University of Richmond

As the vaccines roll out and hopes rise about a return to pre-pandemic life, the reluctance of some to get the vaccine has led to questions about what employers can do to either mandate or encourage vaccination. While it is far too early for any judicial decisions on the issue, Guidancefrom the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission provides some assistance in making the determination. The EEOCs Guidance is not binding on courts, but may be considered by the courts because of the EEOCs role in enforcing the relevant laws. There is some case law regarding mandatory flu vaccines as well, which is largely consistent with the EEOC Guidance.

In general, the guidance indicates that mandating vaccines is lawful, but requires accommodation of individuals whose disabilities or religious beliefs would prevent vaccination. In addition, depending on the vaccine provider, the questions that are asked before vaccination may constitute a medical exam, which the employer would have to justify under the Americans with Disabilities Act if covered by the statute. Providing incentives for vaccination instead of a mandate might also implicate the ADA. Employers implementing vaccine programs must carefully consider their approach to avoid running afoul of legal protections for employees.

B During An Influenza Or Coronavirus Pandemic

Florida employers can require COVID-19 vaccine but they can’t ask for proof of shots

The following questions and answers discuss employer actions when the WHO and the CDC report an influenza or coronavirus pandemic.

  • 5. May an ADA-covered employer send employees home if they display influenza-like symptoms during a pandemic?

    Yes. The CDC states that employees who become ill with symptoms of influenza-like illness at work during a pandemic should leave the workplace. Advising such workers to go home is not a disability-related action if the illness is akin to seasonal influenza or the 2009 spring/summer H1N1 virus. Additionally, the action would be permitted under the ADA if the illness were serious enough to pose a direct threat. *Applying this principle to current CDC guidance on COVID-19, this means an employer can send home an employee with COVID-19 or symptoms associated with it.

  • Also Check: How Fast Does Cvs Give Covid Results

    Will The State Have A Copy Of My Vaccination Record

    In most states, healthcare providers are required to keep either paper or digital records of most vaccinations they administer . If your state has a vaccine registry, also known as an Immunization Information System , the provider may be required to forward your information there as well.

    Not all states have an IIS. And even if your state does, your provider may not be required to submit your information. Some states also need patients to consent ahead of having their vaccine information forwarded to a state IIS.

    Even if your state has a record of your vaccination, it may be difficult to get a copy. Most states restrict access to vaccination records for security and privacy reasons.

    For more information about contacting your states vaccine registry or IIS, visit

    Can You Ask Applicants About Their Vaccine Status 3 Options For Employers



    As more businesses are requiring proof of vaccination for their employees and customers, a question that often arises is whether it is lawful to ask an applicant about their vaccine status. While we are generally hesitant about encouraging such inquiries , the short answer is yes. However, because questions about the vaccination status of applicants could easily dovetail into additional questions that may reveal a disability or religious objection to the vaccine information youd rather not have at that stage of the hiring process there are some important nuances to consider. So what is the best way for employers to determine whether applicants are vaccinated? Here are three options to consider if you decide you need to know whether applicants are vaccinated.


    Late last year, the EEOC issued guidance making it clear that asking an employee whether they are vaccinated is not an inquiry that violates the Americans with Disabilities Act . The ADA prohibits employers from asking job applicants prior to making a conditional offer of employment questions that may reveal the applicant has a disability. These inquiries should be limited to after an employer extends a job offer to an applicant and need to be job-related and consistent with business necessity.

    Considerations Before Asking About Vaccine Status

    3 Options for Employers

    What About New Hires?

    Properly Handle Vaccination Documentation

    Read Also: Cvs Covid Testing Result Time

    Who Can Get A Covid Booster Shot What To Know After Cdc Endorses Moderna J& j Doses

    “HIPAA governs doctors, hospitals, companies like that,” said Matthew Kugler, associate professor of law at Northwestern University. “If your restaurant says, ‘Hey, show me your medical record,’ that’s something they can say. You don’t have to say ‘yes,’ like you can be like, ‘No, screw you, I’ll go elsewhere.’ But it isn’t a HIPAA problem for them to ask to see it. It’s only a HIPAA problem if they break into your doctor’s office and steal it.”

    So far, many big box stores are relying on an honor system for customers, asking that those who are unvaccinated continue masking, but some businesses are requiring those who wish to go maskless to show proof of vaccination.

    “In general, people are required to make reasonable accommodations for things,” Kugler said. “So, that is why if you show up at a store and say, ‘I want to go in,’ and they say, ‘Are you vaccinated?’ and you say, ‘No,’ they’re like, ‘Oh here’s your mask ‘ – that’s a reasonable accommodation. I have difficulty seeing how asking someone to wear a mask would give grounds for a lawsuit.”

    The rules are similar when it comes to employers, but certain issues could arise when it comes to the Americans With Disabilities Act and anti-religious discrimination laws, Kugler said.

    According to December guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, asking an employee to show proof of vaccination would not violate the ADA. Asking for reasons why someone isn’t vaccinated could pose a problem, however.

    If I Chose Not To Have The Covid

    Health workers sue Texas hospital over mandatory Covid ...

    Your reasons for choosing to not have the COVID-19 vaccination and medical evidence related to this decision is also considered to be sensitive information under the Privacy Act. As with vaccination status information, your employer can generally only collect this information with your consent, and the collection must be reasonably necessary for your employers functions or activities.

    However, if there is an Australian law such as a public health order that requires your employer to collect your vaccination status information and reasons for non-vaccination, you may be required to provide your employer with your reasons or medical evidence exempting you from vaccination. This will depend on the requirements contained in the relevant law.

    Also Check: Can You Take Advil After The Covid Vaccine

    Why Are Some States Introducing Their Own Laws About Proof Of Vaccination

    Some states have taken the view that, because COVID vaccines do not guarantee 100% protection against the virus, proof of vaccination only demonstrates an individual is less likely to contract and transmit the virus. It is also the case nobody knows for sure how long vaccine-induced immunity lasts. Therefore, it is possible an individual with a vaccine passport can still present a risk of infection.

    Steve Alder has many years of experience as a journalist, and comes from a background in market research. He is a specialist on legal and regulatory affairs, and has several years of experience writing about HIPAA. Steve holds a B.Sc. from the University of Liverpool.

    Can My Employer Require Me To Get A Covid

    Yes. Generally, employers can require their employers to get vaccines as a condition of employment as long as it is job related and considered a business necessity, legal experts say. The idea is to keep the workplace safe.

    Employers must provide exceptions for religious or medical reasons.

    COVID in Ohio schools:State isn’t updating its school COVID-19 mask recommendations despite changes from CDC

    In the early days of the pandemic, employment law attorneys doubted that many companies would impose a vaccine mandate even if they could.

    Now that vaccines are widely available and cases are surging again, some employers are rethinking that, especially given that governments are more reluctant to reimpose mandates, said Catherine Burgett, an employment law attorney with the Frost Brown Todd law firm in Columbus. In the past 24 hours, for example, two of Columbus’ major hospital systems joined the third in requiring employees to get vaccinated.

    “There’s renewed interest in a vaccine mandate,” she said.

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    Lawful And Reasonable Directions To Get Vaccinated

    Employers can direct their employees to be vaccinated if the direction is lawful and reasonable. Whether a direction is lawful and reasonable is fact dependent and needs to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Just because it may be lawful and reasonable to give a direction to one employee, that doesnt mean it will automatically be lawful and reasonable to give the same direction to another employee or to all employees.

    For a direction to be lawful, it needs to comply with any employment contract, award or agreement, and any Commonwealth, state or territory law that applies .

    There are a range of factors that may be relevant when determining whether a direction to an employee is reasonable. Things to take into consideration include:

    • the nature of each workplace
    • the extent of community transmission of COVID-19 in the location where the direction is to be given, including the risk of transmission of the Delta variant among employees, customers or other members of the community
    • the terms of any public health orders in place where the workplace is located
    • the effectiveness of vaccines in reducing the risk of transmission or serious illness, including the Delta variant
    • each employees circumstances, including their duties and the risks associated with their work
    • whether employees have a legitimate reason for not being vaccinated
    • vaccine availability.

    When undertaking this case-by-case assessment, it may also be helpful as a general guide to divide work into 4 broad tiers:

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