Yesterday, I made a return appearance on This Week in Connecticut with Dennis House to discuss mandatory vaccination policies. (My thanks to Dennis for the invite back.)
If you’ve been following the topic, there isn’t a lot new the last few weeks but here’s what employers should know right now about them:
- Despite an announcement several weeks ago, OSHA has yet to release the draft or final versions of the Emergency Temporary Standard that will require employers to mandate the COVID vaccine to employees or require unvaccinated workers to be tested on a weekly basis. In fact, if you believe certain press reports, there continues to be behind-the-scenes fighting as to the scope of this new rule.
- At a state level, however, Governor Lamont has, through executive order, mandated the vaccine (or, in some cases, allowed for testing) for state workers, teachers and health care workers.
- For private employers, courts continue to uphold mandatory vaccination policies that have been promulgated by those employers. Various challenges by employees have universally failed. In fact, United Airlines has had great success in not only rolling out the policy, but getting employees to abide by the policy as well.
- Employers that want to implement such a policy should ensure that it has exemption allowances for those with a disability or religious belief that is at odds with the vaccine. But employers have options in not only considering those requests, but considering what — if any — accommodations can be made to those employees as well.
Thankfully, it appears that the latest Delta wave has peaked across the nation. Connecticut remains at the lowest rate in the nation. (However, other parts of New England, including Maine and New Hampshire, continue to experience their highest case rates of this entire pandemic, despite fairly widespread vaccinations.) That does not mean that we’re entirely out of the woods yet. In fact, more vaccinations will help prevent another wave that — if you listen to certain experts — seems more inevitable than not.
For now, opposition to mandatory vaccination policies seems to be diminishing a bit. Employers are seeing the utility of such policies. If you’re considering one, be sure to talk with your counsel to ensure that such a policy and practice will withstand legal scrutiny.
If you want to learn more on the subject, I’ll be speaking on Tuesday with my colleague Sheridan King, at the Connecticut Bar Association’s CLE program on Vaccine Mandates. You can sign up through the link.