Updated: Aug 21, 2021
While the results of increased COVID-19 vaccinations have shown improvement on the pressure on the hospital systems around the world, many are still not sure about getting the vaccination. This controversial subject of vaccinations is now being introduced into employment rights by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
As you recall, the EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or genetic information.
In an effort to help employers and their employees understand their rights and responsibilities in the workplace during the pandemic under federal equal employment opportunity laws, the EEOC published new guidelines as of Friday, May 28, 2021.
Some of the new guidelines relevant to DMCs are summarized below:
Federal EEO laws do not prevent an employer from requiring all employees physically entering the workplace to be vaccinated for COVID-19, so long as employers comply with the reasonable accommodation provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) and other EEO considerations.
Keep in mind that because some individuals or demographic groups may face greater barriers to receiving a COVID-19 vaccination than others, some employees may be more likely to be negatively impacted by a vaccination requirement.
Federal EEO laws do not prevent or limit employers from offering incentives to employees to voluntarily provide documentation or other confirmation of vaccination obtained from a third party, such as a pharmacy, personal health care provider, or public clinic.
If employers choose to obtain vaccination information from their employees, employers must keep vaccination information confidential pursuant to the ADA.
Employers may provide employees and their family members with information to educate them about COVID-19 vaccines and raise awareness about the benefits of vaccination.
In response to these new guidelines, the DMC Coalition has prepared a Mandatory Employee Vaccination Policy that DMCs may present to their employees for signature requiring them to get a COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of working in your DMC’s office or onsite at programs.
This policy is designed for use by private employers in a non-health care setting. The policy is based on guidance issued by the EEOC and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
It includes procedures for requesting an exemption from the vaccination requirement, including requests for a reasonable accommodation based on a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or a sincerely held religious belief under Title VII. This policy is based on federal law. State or local laws may impose additional or different requirements.