Build Confidence In Covid
Vaccine confidence is the trust that employers, employees, their families, and healthcare providers have in:
- Recommended vaccines
- Providers who administer vaccines
- Processes and policies that lead to vaccine development, licensure or authorization, manufacturing, and recommendations for use
Build vaccine confidence by making confidence visible in your workplace. Follow these steps:
Can An Employer Require Workers To Disclose Their Vaccination Status
A PHO order may require select employers in certain sectors to collect vaccination status from their workers, such as for those who work in health care settings. However for other employers, checking vaccination status of their workers is not currently a public health requirement or a WorkSafeBC requirement. Similar to mandatory vaccination policies, employers should seek legal advice when deciding to implement such policies. The BC Vaccine Card being rolled out by the provincial government is for patrons to access certain venues and events and does not apply to workers at these businesses.
Employers may refer to A human rights approach to proof of vaccination during the COVID-19 pandemic, published by B.C.s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner, for advice on how employers can approach vaccination status policies.
Changing Work Arrangements Or Duties
Employers will need to consider whether there are any alternatives to allow the employee to keep working without vaccination. Employees and employers may be able to agree on changes to work arrangements or duties , which could mean that vaccination is no longer required. This outcome should be mutually agreed and independent advice may be needed if this is not possible.
Employers should also consider whether the tasks that require vaccination can be deferred. For example, if an employee has a particular reason for not being vaccinated then this might mean certain alternative arrangements can be agreed for the short term, with vaccination planned for a later date.
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Accommodations And Vaccine Exemptions Under The Americans With Disabilities Act
If you could be harmed by a vaccine due to a preexisting medical condition, you can request an accommodation. Your employer would then have to make a reasonable effort to find another way for you to safely perform the essential functions of your job before taking an adverse employment action. Examples of a reasonable accommodation include:
- working from home or another location
- modifying your office or workspace
- changing your hours, and
- providing personal protective equipment .
Keep in mind, however, that having a garden-variety type allegoric reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine will probably not trigger your employer’s duty to accommodate.
Whether a particular accommodation constitutes “undue hardship” to an employer is a fact-specific analysis that takes into consideration:
- your job duties
- the size of your employer
- its resources, and
- the cost of the accommodation.
In most cases, a reasonable accommodation will be possible. However, in some jobs that have been deemed high-risk by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration , such as health care workers, taking a vaccine might be the only option.
L Vaccinations Title Vii And Religious Objections To Covid
The EEOC enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 , which prohibits employment discrimination based on religion. This includes a right for job applicants and employees to request an exception, called a religious or reasonable accommodation, from an employer requirement that conflicts with their sincerely held religious beliefs, practices, or observances. If an employer shows that it cannot reasonably accommodate an employees religious beliefs, practices, or observances without undue hardship on its operations, the employer is not required to grant the accommodation. See generally Section 12: Religious Discrimination EEOC Guidelines on Discrimination Because of Religion. Although other laws, such as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act , may also protect religious freedom in some circumstances, this technical assistance only describes employment rights and obligations under Title VII.
L.1. Do employees who have a religious objection to receiving a COVID-19 vaccination need to tell their employer? If so, is there specific language that must be used under Title VII?
Employees must tell their employer if they are requesting an exception to a COVID-19 vaccination requirement because of a conflict between that requirement and their sincerely held religious beliefs, practices, or observances . Under Title VII, this is called a request for a religious accommodation or a reasonable accommodation.
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Can Testing Be An Accommodation
Regular Covid-19 testing could potentially be an accommodation option for religious workers or those with disabilities who refuse the vaccine, attorneys said.
Various governments last year explored soft vaccine mandates that either require the shot or regular testing and masking. Flexibility in that regard is a central part of the Occupational Safety and Health Administrations emergency standard for private employers thats being challenged by Republican attorneys general and business groupsone of the cases now being considered at the Supreme Court. The rule provides employers with the latitude to offer a testing option.
Proponents of a testing option have said its a way to boost workplace safety without generating as much employee blowback and litigation as no-jab, no-job rules.
Yet questions remain about whether the accommodation would be reasonable, given that tests are costly and the surge in the Omicron variant has led to test shortages.
Meanwhile, private insurance companies and group health plans must begin covering the cost of at-home, rapid Covid-19 tests kits, beginning Jan. 15, to comply with a Biden administration requirement.
B Confidentiality Of Medical Information
With limited exceptions, the ADA requires employers to keep confidential any medical information they learn about any applicant or employee. Medical information includes not only a diagnosis or treatments, but also the fact that an individual has requested or is receiving a reasonable accommodation.
B.1. May an employer store in existing medical files information it obtains related to COVID-19, including the results of taking an employee’s temperature or the employee’s self-identification as having this disease, or must the employer create a new medical file system solely for this information?
The ADA requires that all medical information about a particular employee be stored separately from the employee’s personnel file, thus limiting access to this confidential information. An employer may store all medical information related to COVID-19 in existing medical files. This includes an employee’s statement that the employee has the disease or suspects so, or the employer’s notes or other documentation from questioning an employee about symptoms. For information on confidentiality and COVID-19 vaccinations, see K.4.
B.2. If an employer requires all employees to have a daily temperature check before entering the workplace, may the employer maintain a log of the results?
Yes. The employer needs to maintain the confidentiality of this information.
B.3. May an employer disclose the name of an employee to a public health agency when it learns that the employee has COVID-19?
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Biden Covid Vaccine Mandate: Which Us Workers Need Proof Of Vaccination
President Biden’s federal vaccine mandate for large businesses starts next week. Learn which workers will be affected.
The imminent COVID-19 vaccine mandate will require many US workers to prove their vaccination status.
The US federal mandate for COVID-19 vaccines will go into effect on Jan. 10 unless the US Supreme Court decides to declare it unconstitutional — the court discussed oral arguments for four hours Friday, but did not reach a decision. The vaccination requirement will apply to workers in all US private companies with 100 or more employees.
While the Supreme Court’s decision hangs in the balance, many states and cities have already implemented vaccine requirements for government workers and contractors. All Philadelphia city workers must be vaccinated by Jan. 14. On Friday, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul joined California and New Mexico in creating a booster mandate for all state health care workers.
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In addition to mandates for government workers, municipalities are enforcing vaccine mandates for public spaces. Boston Mayor Michelle Wu recently declare “B Together,” a plan requiring proof of vaccination for all patrons of Boston’s indoor dining, fitness and entertainment facilities, starting on Jan 15. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced similar COVID-19 vaccine requirements for the Windy City.
The local and state mandates seem to be working. In the US, 78.8% of people 5 and older have had at least one dose, as of Jan. 7.
What Happens If An Employee Refuses To Be Vaccinated
If an employee refuses to be vaccinated , an employer should, as a first step, ask the employee to explain their reasons for refusing the vaccination.
If the employee gives a legitimate reason for not being vaccinated , the employee and their employer should consider whether there are any other options available instead of vaccination. This could include alternative work arrangements. Find out more at Alternative work arrangements.
Whether disciplinary action is reasonable will depend on the circumstances. For more information on disciplinary action for refusing to be vaccinated, see Can an employer take disciplinary action if an employee refuses to get vaccinated?
We encourage employers to discuss options with their employees depending on the circumstances of their individual workplace. Learn more about consultation and cooperation in the workplace.
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Employers Can Require Workers To Get The Covid
The pace of COVID-19 vaccinations is picking up speed, with millions of Americans getting their shot each day. But not everyone is on board. Polls show that a significant number of people remain skeptical about the vaccine or are refusing to get inoculated against the virus.
Certainly, the government cant force anyone to take a vaccine against their wishes. But many vaccine-averse workers will soon discover that, in most cases, their employer can require vaccination as a condition of continued employment.
According to guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission , American employers will be well within their rights to terminate or refuse to hire individuals who dont get the COVID-19 vaccine, except when doing so would violate the Americans With Disabilities Act or infringe on an employees sincerely held religious beliefs.
Employers Can Exclude From The Workplace Unvaccinated Employees Who Are a “Direct Threat” to Other Employees
In its guidance, the EEOC does not explicitly say that mandatory vaccination is lawful. Thats because it doesnt need to. Since most Illinois employees work on an “at-will” basis, their employer can terminate them for almost any reason not expressly prohibited by an employment contract, collective bargaining agreement, or federal, state, or local laws. Generally, no such laws stand in the way of an employer mandating that their workforce get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Sincerely Held Religious Beliefs
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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Do Employees Have To Be Paid For The Time To Get Vaccinated Against Covid
Where an employer can require an employee to be vaccinated against coronavirus , the employer should cover the employees travel costs and give the employee time off work without loss of pay if the appointment is during work hours.
Employers should consider any applicable awards, agreements, employment contracts or workplace policies, in case they include rules about these types of issues.
Even where an employer doesnt require their employees to be vaccinated against coronavirus, they can still discuss work adjustments, leave arrangements or incentives with their employees to support them getting vaccinated. These arrangements could include:
- requesting and taking leave
- starting work later or finishing early
- working from home
- providing paid time off for their employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Whos Winning In Court
Dozens of lawsuits have been filed against vaccine mandates from private employers, state and local governments, and the Biden administration.
Private companies and state and local governments have largely prevailed in court, while federal measures continue to be locked in litigation, with two of the Biden mandates having been taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Private employers, especially, benefit from at-will employment, meaning they can generally fire employees for any reason so long as it doesnt violate the law or breach a contractual agreement.
They also have a responsibility to keep their workers safe, and can argue that unvaccinated employees, including those seeking exemptions, can harm other workers or burden operations.
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Vaccine Requirement More Likely In Health Care Other High
The industry most likely to require COVID-19 vaccinations for workers is health care, where most employers already require workers to get a flu shot annually. In fact, interim guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on which groups might be among the first to have access to a coronavirus vaccine placed healthcare personnel likely to be exposed to or treat people with COVID-19 at the top of the list.
But once enough doses of a vaccine have been produced for distribution to the broader public, some employers might start to consider a mandate.
“For example, essential workers in retail stores or in food production plants, such as a meat-packing plant, seem to be at high risk, Reiss says. Those employers could reasonably require , because remember, if an employee doesn’t vaccinate, it’s not just a risk to them. It’s a risk to other employees, and if it’s a customer-facing business a risk to the customers. So, in high-risk places, I think it’s reasonable.”
Some companies may make inoculation voluntary but make it as easy as possible for workers to get the shot. For instance, Ford already has purchased twelve of the ultracold freezers required to store doses of Pfizers vaccine so it can provide the shot to employees who want it.
For those workers who might be told to get a vaccination, remember to raise any concerns you might have with your employer.
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Can Employers Require Staff To Receive Covid
As the drift back to the workplace begins to gather pace, and health and safety considerations sit high on the agenda of employers, the issue of whether employees should be compelled to receive COVID-19 vaccinations or risk losing their jobs is a hot topic.
At present, only regulated care homes may legally require staff who arent medically exempt to be fully vaccinated before entering the workplace. So where does that leave other employers?
Can I impose a no jab, no job policy on my staff?
This would not be advisable. Risks for an employer who does so include:
So what should employers outside of the care home sector do?
Current guidance from the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service explains that its best to support staff to get the vaccine without forcing them to.
UK employers are being urged by Public Health England to encourage their employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19. This might include informing employees about how the business will support employee vaccination, such as by allowing time off for staff to attend vaccination appointments, and sharing information about vaccination. Employers have implied duties to employees to take reasonable care of their health and safety, and to take reasonable steps to provide a safe workplace and system of work. Providing information about vaccination to employees to help them make an informed decision about whether to be vaccinated is consistent with these duties.
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