Employers may require workers to get COVID-19 jabs: EEOC

A key federal agency said this week that employers can legally require their workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine and prevent them from entering their workplaces if they refuse. 

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in a guidance issued Wednesday said that requiring a test would not violate the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990. The law bars employers from requiring medical exams such as blood tests that seek information on an employee’s physical or mental condition, but the EEOC said a COVID-19 vaccine does not fall under that category.

“If a vaccine is administered to an employee by an employer for protection against contracting COVID-19, the employer is not seeking information about an individual’s impairments or current health status and, therefore, it is not a medical examination,” the commission said. 

“There are many reasons that may explain why an employee has not been vaccinated, which may or may not be disability-related,” it added. 

Public health experts have said they predict employers will play a key role in helping bring the nation to a critical degree of widespread immunity as vaccines become more widely available. 

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