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EEOC Approves Employers Mandating Employee COVID-19 Vaccination, with Exceptions

EEOC declares employers do not violate disability rights or other equal employment opportunity laws by making vaccination mandatory and requiring proof of vaccination as a condition of employment and/or a return to the office.
August 9, 2021
EEOC Approves Employers Mandating Employee COVID-19 Vaccination, with Exceptions

EEOC Approves Employers Mandating Employee COVID-19 Vaccination, with Exceptions

At the end of May 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued updated guidance declaring that employers do not violate disability rights or other equal employment opportunity laws by making vaccination mandatory and requiring proof of vaccination as a condition of employment and/or a return to the office. The EEOC specified exceptions for covered medical conditions and sincerely-held religious beliefs, in which case the employer must engage in a good faith interactive process with the employee to address any reasonable accommodations specific to the employment situation at hand, including remote work, isolated office space, and/or masking or physical distancing. Additionally, the EEOC approved employer use of economic or other incentives for COVID-19 vaccinations occurring through an outside provider unconnected to the employer as not constituting discrimination. However, because the EEOC did not comment on the scenario where an employee is medically disabled from or religiously opposed to vaccination, employers are encouraged to include equivalent incentive alternatives for these populations, such as completion of additional training/education, to lessen the risk of disability/religious discrimination.

Topic: Federal

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