January 08, 2021

Susan Kline Discusses Employer Considerations for Requiring COVID-19 Vaccinations With IndyStar

In the IndyStar article “Businesses want their workers to receive the coronavirus vaccine. But will they require it?” Faegre Drinker labor and employment partner Susan Kline discussed employer considerations when deciding whether to make the coronavirus vaccination mandatory for employees.

Kline reported hearing from a number of clients who said, “We want to require the vaccine as soon as possible for everybody.” She said companies see the vaccine as a way to combat the high rates of employees out sick or quarantining after exposures. “They’re struggling with staffing,” she added.

No state laws specify whether companies can or cannot require medical procedures like vaccines, Kline said. However, according to IndyStar, the Americans with Disabilities Act requires companies to accommodate people’s medical needs.

This means that employers may require mask-wearing or remote work for people who can’t be vaccinated for medical reasons, Kline stated. However, employers may require vaccination if there’s no way to accommodate a worker, she added. For example, a hospital may require a nurse who works with high-risk patients to be vaccinated.

Some employers, like hospitals and nursing homes, are offering cash bonuses as an incentive for people to take the vaccine, according to the publication. Kline advises employers to take this route because “it’s better to provide a carrot than wave a stick.”

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