Companies must always provide reasonable accommodations to employees who are exempt from mandatory immunization under the United States Disability Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
The committee also said employers’ incentives should not be “coercive”, but stopped to provide examples of illegal offers.
Some experts say there is enough legal gray area for a flurry of lawsuits to arise as companies begin to bring workers back to the physical workplace as the COVID-19 pandemic eases in United States
“What is ‘coercive’ is not clear because, as with anything else, one person’s view of what coercive inducement is is not the same as that of another person,” said said Helen Rella, an employment lawyer at New York-based law firm Wilk Auslander. . “You might find a coercive $ 100 incentive and another person could find a coercive $ 10,000 incentive. This is where the door is left open [where] we don’t have the detailed advice we were hoping to receive. ”
The EEOC was due to update its guidelines regarding the vaccine and other COVID-related matters.
“The updated technical support released today answers frequently asked questions about vaccinations in the workplace,” EEOC President Charlotte A. Burrows said in a statement. “The EEOC will continue to clarify and update our COVID-19 technical assistance to ensure that we provide clear, easy-to-understand and useful information to the public. We will continue to address the issues that were raised at the recent Commission hearing. on the impact of COVID-19 on civil rights. “
Employers who offer on-site vaccinations should continue to keep personal health information of employees obtained during pre-vaccination examinations confidential.
Typically, onsite programs are administered by a third party medical provider or pharmacy to whom the medical information is disclosed, as opposed to an employer.
“Because vaccinations require employees to answer disability-related screening questions prior to vaccination, a very strong incentive could cause employees to feel pressured to disclose protected health information,” said Rella.
Les Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’sof his and the repeal of mandates by states could also create friction between companies and their workers.
For example: A company is developing a policy under which vaccinated employees may not wear a mask, but unvaccinated workers must continue to cover their faces. This puts employers in the position to monitor the workplace and ask employees to disclose potentially confidential information.
“I am waiting for the floodgates to open on litigation in this area,” said Rella.