Many employers are asking whether they can require employees to get vaccinated when the COVID-19 vaccine is available.
There is no doubt that employers may encourage employees to get vaccinated. Covering any cost of the vaccine and paid time off are ways that employers may be able to encourage employees.
Employers MIGHT be able to require employees to get vaccinated if that is deemed necessary to protect other employees and customers of the employer.
Employees with certain disabilities or religious objections may have the right to refuse vaccination. If an employee cannot be vaccinated, and exposure without a vaccine would present a direct threat to other employees or customers, then the employer should consider reasonable accommodations.
While case law can be found that supports an employers right to terminate an employee who refuses vaccination, case law can also be found that supports an employees right to not be fired for refusing vaccination.
Alderman & Alderman recommends that employers work with their employees to encourage voluntary vaccination and find reasonable accommodations for those who cannot be vaccinated because of a disability or deeply held religious belief.