We’ve already shared guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) regarding employer’s ability to require vaccine immunization of their workers without violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Title VII or other federal anti-discrimination laws.
Now that workers are returning to the workplace and hiring is picking up, employers are finding themselves faced with employees and candidates trying to use the Emergency Use Authorization as an opt-out for such mandates.
Some misinterpretation comes into play between the EEOC guidance and FDA obligation to inform vaccine recipients of potential risks of vaccines authorized under the EUA.
Whereas the fact sheet provided to individuals receiving the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine states that “the recipient or their caregiver has the option to accept or refuse [the] Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine,” it doesn’t provide an automatic exemption for the individual from getting any vaccine. It simply states they can refuse to accept this vaccine.
Employers may, as a condition of employment or continued employment, require vaccinations and proof of vaccinations. And in an employment at-will state such as Georgia, employees and candidates retain the luxury of looking for alternative employment elsewhere if they do not want to get vaccinated as a condition of their current or pursued job. And, as we’ve advised earlier, appropriate accommodations would need to be offered for certain medical conditions or deeply held religious beliefs.