Can an Employer Require the COVID-19 Vaccine?

Courtroom banner image
Published by

Matthew Ozment

on June 15, 2023

Yes. Employers are allowed to mandate employees be vaccinated for COVID-19.

Increasing numbers of employers are requiring employees to be vaccinated as case numbers rise and the vaccines are given full approval by the FDA. Employers are also allowed to require employees to present proof of vaccination such as a vaccination card.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has issued guidance on how employers can ensure they comply with Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), and other federal employment nondiscrimination laws when mandating the vaccine.

Are there any exceptions to COVID-19 vaccines mandated by an employer?

Yes. In some cases, Title VII and the ADA require employers to provide reasonable accommodations for employees who are not vaccinated because of a disability or a sincerely held religious belief. Employers are obligated to provide accommodations for these individuals unless doing so would cause an undue hardship on the employer. These exemptions from an employer’s vaccine mandate do not apply to everyone and are determined on a case-by-case basis.  Possible “reasonable accommodations” may include wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing, working remotely, or antibody testing.

Can you be fired for not getting vaccinated for COVID?

Potentially. If an employee does not qualify for an exemption to the vaccine policy, an employer can fire an employee for non-compliance with the company’s vaccine policy.

Grove Ozment assists employees requesting accommodations based on religious beliefs or disability for COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

Grove Ozment counsels employers looking to implement a COVID-19 vaccination policy that complies with state law and federal law. Grove Ozment also works with employers to navigate requests for accommodation under the ADA and Title VII.