EEOC Says Employers Can Require Vaccination

There are exemptions for disabilities and religious beliefs, the guidance indicates.

December 21, 2020

WASHINGTON—The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) last week issued long-awaited guidance indicating that employers can require most of their employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine in order to ensure a safe workplace, the New York Times reports.

The commission noted that although the Americans with Disabilities Act limits an employer’s ability to require employees to undergo a medical examination unless job-related and a business necessity, receiving a vaccine doesn’t constitute a medical exam.

Under the section, ADA and Vaccinations, the EEOC states, “Managers and supervisors responsible for communicating with employees about compliance with the employer’s vaccination requirement should know how to recognize an accommodation request from an employee with a disability and know to whom the request should be referred for consideration.”

Regarding refusing vaccination on religious grounds, the EEOC states, “Once an employer is on notice that an employee’s sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance prevents the employee from receiving the vaccination, the employer must provide a reasonable accommodation for the religious belief, practice, or observance unless it would pose an undue hardship under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.” 

Read the full EEOC guidance document here.

For more information about navigating mandatory vaccinations for employees, read “Legal Experts Offer Vaccine Advice for Employers,” in NACS Daily.

Coronavirus Resources
NACS has compiled resources to help the convenience retail community navigate the COVID-19 crisis. For news updates and guidance, visit our coronavirus resources page.