SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – Springfield’s mask tenure ends Thursday night. This means that more workers who have been at home will soon be back in the office.
Thus, Fact Finders receives several questions like this; Can an employer ask to see your COVID-19 vaccination card? The answer is yes.
Robert Gatter, professor of law at Saint-Louis University, told us that there is no law preventing an employer from asking for this information.
An employer may also ask you to get vaccinated to keep your job. This will be a big deal if you are working with a vulnerable population like the people in a nursing home thanks to an OSHA law created five decades ago.
“The general duty is to maintain a safe workplace and therefore I think many employers sincerely believe this is an aspect of their responsibility,” added Robert Gatter’s colleague Matthew Bodie, also a law professor at Saint Louis University.
“An employer could be responsible for not creating and maintaining a safe business environment if the employer does not know the immunization status of its employees. Imagine, for example, if an unvaccinated caregiver infected a resident and the nursing home – as the employer of the aide – did not know their employee was not vaccinated because the nursing home never asked, the law could conclude that is partly responsible for the harm caused to the resident because the nursing home did not know who among its staff was and was not vaccinated, ”commented Gatter.
There are two big exceptions to all of this. One applies to disabled workers. If getting the vaccine would put your health at risk, your employer cannot force you to get it. There is also a religious exception.
Otherwise, Arkansas and Missouri are all-you-can-eat states. This means that in general, employers have the right to fire you for almost any reason.
Now there is a group in Texas that is challenging an employer’s right to require COVID-19 vaccination. Sam Halabi, professor of law at the University of Missouri, for us there is no clear decision on their legal theory which focuses on the authorization of emergency use of vaccines. Thus, any challenge could take years to go to court.
At this point, many employers are offering incentives to have their employees vaccinated. Fewer of them require COVID-19 vaccinations.
The Kaiser Family Foundation recently reviewed the incentives among the biggest and most influential Fortune 500 companies. See their report here: Companies encourage employee vaccination but quit before tenure
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