One of the most common HR questions circulating recently is whether or not employers are allowed to require COVID vaccinations in their businesses. The short answer is, yes, you are allowed to require a vaccination, but this does come with some risks and things to consider. It also might be a better business decision to recommend vs. require.
Things to consider when it comes to the COVID vaccine and your business:
- The political nature of the COVID vaccine makes it more difficult to implement.
- The COVID Vaccines on the market are not fully approved yet. They are only in the Emergency Use Authorization phase.
- If you do choose to add a vaccine program you will have to also add exemptions for religion, medical, and disability, as well as offer reasonable accommodations for those individuals.
- You will need to check with your state’s employment laws as there may be employee protections in place.
POTENTIAL HEALTH RISKS
An employer needs to understand the risks associated with requiring employees to get vaccinated. While vaccines go through regulatory testing and review, there’s always the potential for adverse reactions depending on the individual. If you require your employees to get vaccinated and they have an adverse reaction, it could turn into a workers comp situation or even a lawsuit.
You must keep any information gained through a vaccination program confidential. If you collect vaccination records, OSHA requires you to keep those records for 30 years following the term date. If you ask for vaccination records you are obligated to warn your employees not to provide additional generic information as part of the proof.
LOSS OF EMPLOYEES
Employers must be willing to risk losing current employees due to a vaccination requirement. Some may be exempt for religious reasons, but others may leave if they feel pressure to do something they don’t agree with. Be prepared for these conversations and weigh the risks associated.
For more information about vaccines and your business, watch a recent HR Coffee Break where one of our HR professionals details everything you need to know. You can watch the video here.