Raleigh, Caroline du Nord – Governor Roy Cooper on Thursday called on businesses to get involved in coronavirus vaccination efforts.
Cooper said he wanted companies to check vaccinations. But some companies have gone further and have asked their employees to get vaccinated.
With few exceptions, federal and state laws allow private companies to require vaccination against COVID-19, according to two Raleigh lawyers.
Cooper’s latest executive order gives state agencies the power to require proof of vaccination, meaning employees must show their vaccination cards by September 1.
If not vaccinated, state employees at these agencies will need to wear masks and be tested for the virus at least once a week.
The new rules on vaccines or masks will affect most state agencies, but not university or college campuses or state offices run by other members of the State Council, such as the Ministry of State. Agriculture and Consumer Services or the Ministry of Education.
The lawyers said that employers generally have the power to require vaccinations.
There are exceptions that must be made for people with disabilities or with sincere religious beliefs.
« [An employer] can mean getting vaccinated or losing your job, ”Meier said. “It may be a condition of your employment. “
But that’s not what the governor is asking state agencies, instead, he maintains voluntary vaccination but puts in place additional requirements for the unvaccinated.
“They say, ‘We want to demand it, but I don’t want to turn this really political and piss off the General Assembly. So we’re just saying you can still work out and do your thing, you just need to get tested weekly and make sure you’re not asymptomatic. This is a fairly minimal requirement for someone who chooses not to be vaccinated, and completely legal, ”said lawyer Daniel Meier.
Cooper said Thursday he supported companies going further and requiring vaccination as a condition of employment, which is legal.
A number of bills banning vaccine requirements have been tabled at State House. Only one bill was passed, but the state Senate did not act on it.
To avoid liability issues, employment lawyer Lauren Noble suggests that companies offer incentives during a tenure.
“Where they offer extra paid time off or they offer a bonus or a gift card to their employees who are vaccinated,” Noble explained.
Noble added that many people have personal reasons and general anxiety about getting the vaccine. She said these are probably not covered by any of the disability exemptions.