The Food and Drug Administration has granted Emergency Use Authorization for Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines. As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, employers across all industries may be considering whether to adopt a vaccination policy requiring vaccination as a condition of working and/or accessing the workplace or jobsite. The FDA’s recent authorization of the COVID-19 vaccine raises several legal and practical issues that employers may wish to consider as they prepare for widespread distribution and availability of the vaccine in 2021.
Mandating the COVID-19 Vaccine in the Workplace
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently issued guidance suggesting that employers may mandate that employees receive the COVID-19 vaccination, subject to certain limitations. The EEOC has taken the position that administration of the COVID-19 vaccine does not implicate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because administration of the vaccine is not a medical examination. Under the EEOC’s guidance, employers, regardless of the industry, may require that employees receive the COVID-19 vaccine without having to justify that the mandate is job related and consistent with business necessity. Beyond that, construction employers should be aware of numerous issues and risks associated with mandatory vaccine policies.
Reprinted courtesy of Natale DiNatale, Stephen W. Aronson, Britt-Marie K. Cole-Johnson, Emily A. Zaklukiewicz, Kayla N. West & Abby M. Warren of Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved.