Can your employer mandate you get a Covid-19 vaccine?

Published: Feb. 2, 2021 at 8:20 PM EST
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - With the Hoosier State now allowing people ages 65 and older to register for a Covid-19 vaccine, businesses may need to roll out a vaccine plan for their workers.

Can my job require Covid-19 vaccination?

The attorneys would tell you yes,” said Jeff Rea, President and CEO of the South Bend Regional Chamber of Commerce. “I think they would also just tell you to make sure you approach it the right way.”

Legal caveats

Andrew Liss, Population and Analytics Manager at Gibson, says employers mandating vaccination could face legal challenges from workers. Under the American Disabilities Act (ADA), employees with a disability that prevents them from taking the vaccine would need to have reasonable accommodations made for them.

Liss cited another caveat being Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which would pertain to a person with strongly held religious beliefs that someone shouldn’t be taking that vaccine.

“If you think about mandating it, you’re really - organizations are really kind of going down a slippery slope in terms of, of that, and opening up legal issues, as well as the administrative aspects,” remarked Liss.

Encourage employees to get vaccinated instead

“From an encouraging standpoint, that, that’s the direction that Gibson is really striving for,” Liss said.

Rea said the same recommendation is being given to local businesses.

“If you look here, locally, for example, if you went to nursing homes, you went to the hospitals, if you went to some medical practices, very few of them mandated their employees get the vaccine,” he said. “Right now, I just think that we’re, we’re still early enough in the game, that they’re not ready to put some sort of mandate in.”

Liss says vaccine administration has to be covered by an employer’s health plan, whether an employee goes to an in-network or out-of-network provider.

“And that all falls under the CARES Act. And these are minimal costs for probably about a $45 cost to the health plan for a two-dose vaccine,” he said.

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