We are living in unprecedented times and with that comes a lot of questions. With the global spread of COVID-19, companies and organizations across the world have had to grapple with some tough questions. Most notably, many organizations are unsure of how Covid vaccine requirements can affect employment status. There have been many changes and back-and-forth about the issue of vaccine mandates in the workplace and HR Anew has followed all the updates closely. Here is what businesses need to know about COVID vaccinations and how they are implemented in the workplace.
Around the start of summer 2021, things were looking up. Vaccines were widely available to the public, vaccine trials were in full swing for minors, and employers had a glimpse of what the world could look like “post-Covid.” Most businesses and employers were starting to implement protocol to reopen offices and bring their staff back in full force. But then came the Delta variant. The new surge of Covid cases caused a staggering number of infections across the country and employers had to once again reevaluate their situation. An idea that has come to mind for many organizations is adopting a vaccine mandate, or in other words, requiring that their employees be fully vaccinated to keep their job. Many organizations consider this to be the best answer, because it’s what they believe will keep their staff and workplace safe. However, this complex topic has caused quite a stir across our country. Many believe that mandating employees to get a vaccine is illegal.
So what do businesses need to know?
As an employer, it’s important to acknowledge that vaccine mandates are not a new phenomenon. After all, we are required to vaccinate our children if they want to attend school. Many health-related industries like hospitals require that their employees get flu vaccinations each year. So how is the Covid vaccine different? It’s really not and in short, employers do have the right to implement a vaccine mandate if they so choose. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has clearly stated to the public that employers can mandate a vaccine.
What about religious or medical exemptions?
When it comes to religious or medical exemptions, these requests can be a bit tricky to navigate. First, a person has to prove that they have a “sincerely held religious belief” to not get the vaccine. And proving someone’s belief to not be true is a hard thing to do. Second, although the side effects of the vaccine have been extremely rare, there have been some claims that people with underlying circumstances have been negatively affected.
The bottom line that employers need to understand is that this is unchartered territory and all organizations are learning as we go. If you have questions about vaccine mandates and requirements for your organization, contact HR Anew. HR Anew helps employers and organizations solve their business problems. Connect with us when you want new ideas and solutions to optimize digital resources, strategy and training in the areas of diversity, equity, equality, inclusion, and belonging; manager and employee education and training, employee relations and workplace investigations, and human resource advisory services. Request a quote today!