On Friday, the EEOC released new guidance to address issues that had been popping up in the workplace related to vaccinations. They represent the first substantive updates on the pandemic from the EEOC since the start of the Biden administration.
My firm will be posting a full recap on our sister site, Employment Law Letter, early this week as will most lawfirms.
But for me, the key takeaway confirms what we’ve thought these last few months: Employers may require all employees physically entering to workplace to be vaccinated for COVID-19 (subject to reasonable accommodations for disabilities and religious beliefs) and employers may offer incentives to employees regarding vaccinations.
None of this is particularly earth-shattering.
But it should give more support to employers considering vaccination requirements.
Anecdotally, I’m hearing of more clients either strongly considering or even implementing vaccination requirements to come back to the workplace. In a few instances, landlords are requiring vaccinations for tenants. I think that trend will continue, particularly in Connecticut where we have some of the highest vaccination rates in the country.
Why the push for vaccinations? Because vaccinations provide a straightforward way for employers to operate with a minimum level of disruption. Vaccinations allow an employer to worry less about contact tracing, quarantines, or additional time off. As a result, employers should consider providing incentives to employees who may still be recalcitrant about getting vaccines. Extra time off — particularly to deal with side effects — can be a good start.
Despite the lousy weather this past weekend here, we have a lot to look forward to this summer in Connecticut. Getting more people back in the office safely is a good step back to take.