Employers are allowed under federal law to require workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before they can physically return to the workplace, according to updated guidelines released Friday by the Commission for the equal opportunities in employment.
But they must provide “reasonable accommodation” to workers who refuse injections because of a disability – including pregnancy – or for religious reasons, the agency said. The move could mean unvaccinated employees could be required to wear masks or work remotely.
EEOC rules have also given the green light to companies offering incentives as a way to encourage employees to get vaccinated, as long as the benefits are “not large enough to be coercive.”
“A very big incentive could make employees feel compelled to disclose protected medical information,” the EEOC explained – without providing specific examples of illegal sweeteners.
Food maker Bolthouse Farms is offering its vaccinated workers a bonus of $ 500, the Wall Street Journal reported, while retailer Dollar General is offering an extra four hours of pay to those who can prove they’ve had a chance.
In the months since coronavirus vaccines became widely available, some workers have been blinded by demands from their bosses to be vaccinated.
“It was shocking to me,” Bonnie Jacobson told The Post after losing her job as a waitress in Brooklyn in February. “I went through the stages: I was injured, I was in shock, then I got angry.