Can Employers Ask Me If I’m Vaccinated? Can Employers Decide Who to Hire Based on Vaccination Status?

I’ve been asked, and even recently interviewed on KTUU Channel 2 News, whether employers can ask employees if they’ve been vaccinated.

The answer is “yes.”

According to a July 26, 2021 legal opinion, the U.S. Department of Justice officially took the position that the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act does not prohibit employers from requiring a vaccine even if authorized for emergency use only.*

The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) states that employers can ask employees and applicants if they’ve been vaccinated.

Employers shouldn’t, however, ask further questions as they might then uncover private medical information.

Employers can even require proof of vaccination.

Can employers make employment decisions based on an employee’s vaccination status?

The answer is “yes.”

Employers are allowed to set conditions for the workplace, as long as they don’t violate federal, state or local laws.

The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission states that employers can elect to have a fully vaccinated workplace, as long as they allow exemptions for those whose underlying medical reasons (Americans with Disabilities Act) or sincerely-held religious beliefs gives them a reason for refusing vaccination.

Employers need to accommodate to employees with legitimate exemptions if they can reasonably do so; for example, by letting those employees work from home.

As just example, Delta Airlines now asks that all new employees be vaccinated.

What are your thoughts about this?

*DOJ Takes Stance on Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccine Policies: They Do Not Violate Federal Food and Drug Laws | Perkins Coie

If you’d like to learn more about employer/employee rights concerning vaccinations, you might enjoy these posts, https://workplacecoachblog.com/2021/07/delta-variant-fears-further-split-the-workplace/ and https://www.businessexpertpress.com/books/managing-for-accountability-a-business-leaders-toolbox/https://workplacecoachblog.com/2021/05/can-my-employer-make-me-get-vaccinated/https://workplacecoachblog.com/2021/04/dare-we-ask-our-coworkers-are-you-safe-and-vaccinated/https://workplacecoachblog.com/2021/03/vaccinated-employees-skirmish-with-unvaccinated-employees-new-employer-protocols/.

Also, my newest book, Managing for Accountability, https://amzn.to/2UNMcyX is now available on Amazon.

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4 thoughts on “Can Employers Ask Me If I’m Vaccinated? Can Employers Decide Who to Hire Based on Vaccination Status?

  1. My guess upon reading the opening questions was that the answer was probably yes to all, perhaps with some conditions. It isn’t pleasant to see things come to this, but frankly, everyone who can (barring special conditions, immuno suppression, and other things) SHOULD BE VACCINATED. Period. If it takes employer mandates, so be it. The mutations of the COVID virus will continue and may get much more contagious, harder to fight off, and perhaps resistant to the existing vaccine. It is inconsiderate toward others not to get vaccinated, because some groups, such as young children so far do not have a vaccine. It is not thinking very far ahead even about a person’s own safety and that of their family, friends, and coworkers not to get vaccinated. It further stresses and endangers the healthcare providers at hospitals and nursing homes not to get vaccinated. It isn’t much help to get COVID get hospitalized and then finally to be sorry that a person “didn’t know” it was serious and is sorry to be putting their caregivers in danger, too.

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