On December 16 the EEOC updated its guidance regarding the COVID-19 pandemic to include questions and answers regarding the COVID-19 vaccination. Per the guidance, employers may mandate employees receive the vaccine, but employers who do so, must keep in mind employment non-discrimination laws. Noteworthy provisions of the updated guidance are summarized below:

  • Disability-related considerations:
    • The administration of the vaccine by an employer or a third party contracted by the employer is not a “medical examination” as defined by the ADA.
    • Pre-screening vaccination questions are likely to seek information about employees’ disabilities and, therefore, are likely “disability-related” inquiries. If an employer requires employees to receive the vaccine from the employer or a contracted party, the pre-vaccination questions must be “job-related and consistent with business necessity.”
    • Requiring an employee to provide proof that he or she received the vaccination is not a disability-related inquiry.
    • If an employee is unable to receive the vaccine due to a disability, the employer must determine whether the unvaccinated employee poses a “direct threat” at the worksite. If the employee does not pose a direct threat, then the employer may exempt the employee from the vaccination requirement. However, if the unvaccinated employee poses a direct threat, the employer must provide a reasonable accommodation for the disability unless such accommodation would pose an undue hardship.
  • Religious Considerations:
    • If an employee is unable to receive the vaccine due to a sincerely held religious belief, the employer must provide a reasonable accommodation for the religious belief unless it would pose an undue hardship. Unless the employer has an objective reason for questioning the employee, the employer should assume that the request for accommodation is based on a sincerely held religious belief.
  • If an employee is unable to receive the vaccine for disability-related or religious reasons, and the employer is unable to provide a reasonable accommodation, then employers may exclude the employee from the workplace.
Print:
Email this postTweet this postLike this postShare this post on LinkedIn
Photo of Megan E. Bennett Megan E. Bennett

Megan focuses her practice on the representation of management in all aspects of labor and employment law. She assists in providing day-to-day counseling to employers by researching and recommending best practices for companies on human resources issues such as terminations, compliance with employment…

Megan focuses her practice on the representation of management in all aspects of labor and employment law. She assists in providing day-to-day counseling to employers by researching and recommending best practices for companies on human resources issues such as terminations, compliance with employment laws, workplace investigations, and the preparation of policies and employment agreements. Megan aids in the defense of employers in discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and various other employment-related claims before judicial bodies and administrative agencies. Megan assists clients across several industries in preparing annual affirmative action plans and defending against OFCCP audits.

During law school, Megan had hands-on experience, including serving as a Judicial Extern to the Honorable Judge Christopher Boyko of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, a Law Clerk for the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, and a Legal Intern for the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights. In addition, Megan was a Frantz Ward Summer Associate.

Prior to law school, Megan taught Kindergarten and Pre-Kindergarten in New York City through Teach for America. Megan holds a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Lehman College of the City University of New York. Megan also has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Communications from the University of Dayton.