Federal Laws Allow Employers to Require COVID-19 Vaccine

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) officially states that there are federal laws that allow an employer to require that its workers get vaccinated for the job.

However, the same EEOC also says that employers must provide reasonable accommodations to employees who refuse the COVID-19 vaccine based on religious reasons or a physical disability. Some of these accommodations may include mandating that unvaccinated employees wear a mask and remain socially distanced. Another alternative would be allowing the employee to work from home.

Understanding the EEOC

According to EEOC Chairwoman Charlotte Burrows, the new guidance regarding the COVID-19 vaccine is intended to provide a framework for employers navigating this unprecedented situation. Burrows said that the agency will continue to update its guidance as conditions change.

The EEOC is an independent agency intended to be bipartisan. While Burrows is a Democrat appointed by President Joe Biden, the five-member agency also includes three Republicans put into position by former President Donald Trump.

Most Companies Not Requiring Vaccines

Recognizing that this is a difficult personal choice to legislate, many companies are not mandating that their employees get the COVID-19 vaccine. The nation’s largest processor of beef, JBS USA, and poultry supplier Pilgrim’s Pride have both already gone on record saying that they will not require the vaccine for their employees.

Some companies are making the vaccine available to employees, but they’re not requiring that they choose the immunization.

This appears to be the right call with this controversial issue. By making the vaccine available but not required, employers can support the right to choose.