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Employers could require workers to get COVID-19 vaccine

Posted at 12:44 PM, Nov 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-13 14:44:31-05

As COVID-19 vaccine research shows promising results, some employers may be able to require workers to get it.

"You should already have a plan in place before this vaccine even comes available to have those discussions with your employees, it’s best to set the groundwork now." Attorney Rebecca Demaree is a labor and employment lawyer at Cornelius & Collins, LLP. She said it may surprise employees, but it's not unusual during a public health crisis.

"There are precedents for this especially in the field of healthcare requiring flu vaccines, requiring TB tests, requiring your basic vaccinations," Demaree said.

NewsChannel5's Alexandra Koehn asked, “So when a COVID-19 vaccine comes out, for the people who are worried about getting it and aren’t ready, what would you say to them if their employer requires it?”

“Well if their employer requires it, you have a few other hoops to jump through," Demaree said.

For example, there are religious exemptions and other protective classifications like physical reasons. "You still have the ability as an employee to voice your concerns to your employer, " Demaree said, "In what’s called a joint activity and that’s protected as well."

The attorney said she's already had clients in the hospitality and healthcare field reach out to her for guidance about requiring a vaccine.

This story was first reported by Alexandra Koehn at WTVF in Nashville, Tennessee.