Per recent federal employment law guidance, private employers can generally require employees to get vaccinated for COVID-19 as long as they comply with federal employment laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of religion and disability.
At the state level, with the increasing availability of the COVID-19 vaccine, a number of states are beginning to consider passing legislation to prevent employers from mandating vaccinations and protect those who refuse vaccinations. This type of pending legislation is at various phases and, at this point, no legislation specifically pertaining to refusal of the COVID-19 vaccine has been passed into law. Instead, like at the federal level, most states currently permit objections to employer-mandated vaccinations based only on religious or medical reasons.
However, a number states are considering passing more protective legislation for those refusing to get vaccinated. The proposed legislation varies by state as far as who would be shielded from mandatory vaccinations. A number of states would permit employer-mandated vaccinations but expand the federally recognized religious exemption to recognize any philosophical objection or objection of the conscience. Some states would prohibit employer-mandated vaccinations outright, while a number of states would permit mandated vaccinations only for employees who work in a healthcare facility or with medically vulnerable populations.
A few bills propose to go a step further than only shielding from discrimination in the employment context. In these states, public entities—including schools—and even some private businesses would be prohibited from denying entry or refusing to provide goods and services to individuals who have refused the vaccination..... Read More