Feds say employers can require COVID-19 vaccine, can legally offer incentives

Posted at 9:15 PM, May 28, 2021

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission updated their guidance regarding the COVID-19 vaccine and says employers are allowed to require employees to get vaccinated and can also offer incentives for them to get jabbed.

The new guidance hopes to clear up legal questions employers and employees have concerning vaccination requirements.

According to the guidance, employers can require all employees to get vaccinated to “meet a qualification standard that is job-related and consistent with business necessity, such as a safety-related standard.”

The agency had signaled in December that companies could legally mandate employees returning to a workplace and new hires are vaccinated.

The guidance does not put a limit on incentives employers can offer to encourage vaccination but states they cannot be “so substantial as to be coercive.” The agency says if an incentive is “very large” it could make an employee feel pressured to “disclose protected medical information.”

The EEOC said companies must still provide reasonable accommodation for employees who are exempt from mandatory immunization under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Civil Rights Act.

The agency allows for vaccine exemptions because of a disability or religious belief.

The EEOC is an agency within the Department of Labor.