February 3, 2021
Authored by: Charles Jellinek and Lily Kurland
As COVID-19 vaccines become more widely available and efforts are underway to increase dissemination, employers are considering whether to require employees to be vaccinated in order to be present on Company property. This Q&A addresses key issues regarding a mandatory workplace vaccine program or policy. In Part 3 of the three-part article, we address more of the most commonly asked questions.
As a prefatory note to the questions and answers below, we strongly recommend employers consult with legal counsel when contemplating a workplace vaccine program. While mandatory vaccination programs may generally be permitted, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has long taken the position in its pandemic guidance that employee vaccination should be encouraged rather than required. As such, before implementing a mandatory program, employers should consider whether an alternative approach may be preferable for their workforce. Examples of such alternatives include: encouragement programs, voluntary incentive programs (which have their own set of risks), teleworking arrangements, mandatory diagnostic testing programs, and implementation of additional social distancing and protective measures.
(13) Should employers have a written policy or program? What about training?
Yes and yes.