Back in October, I provided a preliminary assessment of what a COVID-19 vaccine might mean for employers. But as I noted back then, the EEOC’s guidance was not yet updated.
Now, the EEOC has finally provided an update of sorts for employers.
In doing so, the new guidance makes plain what many of us suspected — the EEOC is not going to raise objections if employers decide to mandate the vaccine for employees (as long as religious and medical exceptions are considered).
My colleagues Peter Murphy, Julie Fay and I did a deeper dive into what this guidance means for employers in a recent Employment Law Letter post available here.
But one question remains unanswered by the EEOC: Should employers mandate vaccines for all employees?
Frankly, that choice is going to be more challenging for some employers than others. For small employers, a COVID-19 illness that spreads in the workplace can have devastating effects for that workplace where every employee is essential to keeping the business running. Thus, a vaccine mandate may make sense.
But what if the employer has 10,000 employees and allows employees to work from home. Is a vaccine mandate essential from the outset?
Each employer should look at the pros and cons of a mandate and be sure to discuss the ramifications with your insurance provider as well.
And be sure to talk with your employment law counsel (ahem) about developing a policy on vaccines as well.
2021 is right around the corner. Having vaccines to talk about makes the future just a little less scary.