Can Employers Ask Employees About Vaccination Status?

By Val Rusk

Yes, you CAN ask your employees whether they have been vaccinated….

But employers should ensure their managers who may ask this question – including informally around the water cooler – know to stay away from any follow up questions that could implicate the ADA. Even if they don’t ask the question, well-meaning managers may unintentionally find themselves drawn into conversations that end up crossing into the disclosure of medical information or religious belief as the subject of vaccinations inevitably comes up. What feels like an innocuous conversation now could end up part of an ADA or religious discrimination claim later. (Also of course be mindful of any state or local laws or regulations that may apply to your workforce).

If you have a policy addressing this kind of thing, now’s a good time to recirculate it. If you don’t have an explicit policy, an e-mail to people managers reminding them of the do’s and don’ts may be worthwhile to mitigate risk. It’s also probably time to think about the potential legal issues associated with a workplace where some employees have been vaccinated and others haven’t, as well as the requirements for employers who decide to require that their employees get vaccinated – including any obligations to pay for time spent getting vaccinated and/or recovery, if needed.

The March 21 update to the EEOC’s Pandemic Preparedness guidance is below:

https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/pandemic-preparedness-workplace-and-americans-disabilities-act

Please reach out to ELS Partner, Chandra Davis at cdavis@theemploymentlawsolution.com to discuss employment related questions.