And so it begins.
The Biden administration is now saying that businesses can mandate that employees get vaccinated for COVID-19 in order to enter their buildings and offer incentives for receiving the vaccine. This is the federal government possibly telling businesses that they may break multiple employment laws. I guess we just throw HIPPA out the window.
Legal experts confirmed that being fired for declining to get the vaccine is mostly legal. Read on.
“The federal EEO laws do not prevent an employer from requiring all employees physically entering the workplace to be vaccinated for COVID-19, subject to the reasonable accommodation provisions of Title VII and the ADA and other EEO considerations discussed below,” the agency said. “These principles apply if an employee gets the vaccine in the community or from the employer.”
The reasonable accommodation provision for Title VII would usually refer to something like the company must go out of its way to accommodate someone with a religious objection to doing something the company wants them to do.
The Americans with Disabilities Act reasonable accommodations usually refers to an employer must make some kind of reasonable accommodation for an employee who cannot perform a function at work based on a recognized disability.
COVID vaccinations fall under none of this.
The EEOC also affirmed companies who offer incentives for employees who get vaccinated, although the agency cautioned against “substantial” incentives.
Yes, if any incentive (which includes both rewards and penalties) is not so substantial as to be coercive. Because vaccinations require employees to answer pre-vaccination disability-related screening questions, a very large incentive could make employees feel pressured to disclose protected medical information. …however, this incentive limitation does not apply if an employer offers an incentive to employees to voluntarily provide documentation or other confirmation that they received a COVID-19 vaccination on their own from a third-party provider that is not their employer or an agent of their employer.
According to Politico, businesses had been applying pressure to the EEOC to “clarify whether employers could offer paid time off or even cash to encourage vaccination.”
“Employers including Dollar General, Aldi and Instacart have already moved to reward their employees for receiving the COVID-19 vaccine by offering paid time off and cash stipends,” Politico reported.
In the spring, when vaccines became more available to all adults, employers began requiring their employees to get vaccinated and workers who did not want to get the vaccine were being fired. That resulted in lawsuits.
However, some legal experts say that firing workers for refusing to get vaccinated under the Emergency use Authorization by the FDA is more than likely legal in “at-will” states where employment laws say that they can fire a worker for almost any reason.
Attorney Erik Eisenmann told Bloomberg News, “I am not aware of any court or agency at the state or federal level that has held that the Emergency Use Authorization language prohibits an employer from enforcing a vaccine mandate.”
University of Michigan law professor Nicholas Bagley said, “It’s a condition on future employment. And institutions can do all sorts of things as a condition of employment.”
Considering the Emergency Use Authorization, Bagley told Bloomberg, “The argument looks good for about a half-second, and then, as soon as you start digging, it starts to look much, much worse.”
The government wants to force as many people as possible into getting the vaccine even though there are millions of Americans who have many questions about it. Take, for example, the number of Americans who have already died from the vaccine.
Around 160 million Americans, myself included, get the flu shot every year. In 2019, about 203 people died from getting the flu shot. The year before that about 119 people died and in 2017 the number of 85 Americans died from getting the flu shot.
From just January 1 through April 3,362 Americans died from getting the COVID vaccine. I heard that number has gone over 4,000 as of this writing.
Don’t you think the government owes people with questions about getting the vaccine some answers before they willy nilly say that they can be fired from their jobs for not wanting to get vaccinated until their questions have been answered?