Employers can require their workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the latest update to the guidance issued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
The mandatory vaccination requirement applies to “all employees physically entering the workplace,” the revised guidance issued to address pandemic-related matters at the workplace points out.
The employers must provide reasonable accommodation for workers who are exempt from the requirement under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
“The updated technical assistance released today addresses frequently asked questions concerning vaccinations in the employment context,” EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows said in a statement. “The EEOC will continue to clarify and update our COVID-19 technical assistance to ensure that we are providing the public with clear, easy-to-understand and helpful information. We will continue to address the issues that were raised at the Commission’s recent hearing on the civil rights impact of COVID-19.”
The companies can also offer incentives to get workers vaccinated, “as long as the incentives are not coercive,” a move likely to open up a floodgate of lawsuits, according to some experts.
“What is ‘coercive’ is unclear because, just as with anything else, one person’s view of what is a coercive incentive is not the same as another person’s,” CBS News quoted Helen Rella, an employment attorney at a New York-based law firm as saying.
The revised guidance is issued as the U.S. COVID-19 immunization drive reaches a major milestone, with more than 50% of the population getting at least one dose.