Janie Schulman spoke to Law360 about how policies mandating coronavirus vaccines in the workplace could pose a range of legal risks for employers.
“Given what the country is going through right now, there will be a number of employers who will mandate it because, either for altruistic reasons [they] don’t want people to get sick at their place of business or [they are] worried about liability…and then others who will take a different tack and encourage it,” Janie said.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said in the latest version of its pandemic response guidance that employers should “consider simply encouraging employees” to get a vaccine, though added that no vaccine is currently yet available for COVID-19, which Janie said suggests the agency may revisit the issue if a vaccine is developed.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if, now that the EEOC has said COVID-19 does pose a direct threat to the health and safety of [employees] and the general public, that employers can have a more stringent mandate for a vaccine,” she said. “But that remains to be seen. For now, clearly you have to consider reasonable accommodations.”
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