The Covid-19 pandemic threw a monkey wrench into everyday life. From the government to businesses and individuals, it became clear that no one was entirely sure how to handle or live through this highly unpredictable event. One of its major impacts was on the economy, leading to heated discourse on employee rights and mandates.
Now that the pandemic is winding down, many employees are returning to work as usual. Whether remote or in-person, workers have run into the question of their employer’s ability to enforce mandates as well as what precautions are legal and when a company takes things too far. If you’re looking to better understand your rights, read on.
Vaccination Requirements and Employment Law
The largest of these mandate debates is vaccination. So, can your employer require that you be vaccinated to work for their company? As with all things legal, the answer is never entirely clear cut.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), enforcer of civil rights laws in the United States, does not prohibit mandatory vaccination programs under any federal anti-discrimination laws. It does, however, provide a few reasonable accommodations in which employers can make adjustments.
Those adjustments act in the same manner as someone with a disability, simply finding a solution that allows the employee to perform their job duties without hindering other employees or the employer. With how new the challenge of vaccine mandates are in the workforce, how these accommodations might play out remains to be seen.
The primary reason workers state for refusing to get the vaccine is religion. An excellent example of this accommodation is a workplace that does not allow employees to wear hats or headgear, but has an employee whose religion requires them to wear a headdress.
In this case, the exemption is made as the employee wearing the headdress is a reasonable accommodation. The employer doesn’t have to do anything or pay anything for this to happen. Even if they did, those costs simply couldn’t be too much of a percentage of their finances.
Covid-19 is less clear-cut, however. While the employee may have sincerely held religious beliefs, something protected under Title VII, the question becomes how an employer ensures this employee can perform their job duties while still protecting its other employees. Again, it will take time to see exactly how these situations play out under the law.
As it Stands
For the time being, it remains up to employers whether or not they choose to implement vaccines and other Covid-19 mandates in their workplaces. If you wish to work or continue working for that employer, you will need to comply unless you have reasonable accommodation.
If you do have an accommodation that you feel isn’t being considered, then you’ll need to speak with qualified legal representation like these employee lawyers San Francisco. They can help you identify if you have a case and help you pursue any necessary legal action to ensure you maintain employment or seek compensation.