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Vaccine Guidelines in the Work Place

There’s a light at the end of the quarantine tunnel! The US government is rolling out COVID-19 vaccines as fast as it can, and over 41 million Americans are now fully vaccinated. This means that life will soon return to a normal state.

Businesses, working with their HR professionals, need to start planning how they will operate post-COVID. One of the biggest questions employers have is how to handle the vaccination of their employees. Read on for some important vaccine guidelines to follow.

You Can Mandate Vaccination

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued a number of rules that employers should follow regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. If you’re wondering whether you can mandate vaccination of your employees, the short answer is yes. There are some caveats, however.

There are certain people for whom you must allow an exemption. People who have disabilities or religious objections to the vaccine must be offered a reasonable accommodation as long as that accommodation doesn’t cause your business undue hardship. Disabilities can include allergies to the ingredients in the vaccine.

In short, you can mandate vaccination for your employees, but you need to carefully consider the consequences of doing a blanket requirement. If you choose to mandate vaccination, then you can ask for supporting documentation from people who request an exemption.

You Can Ask for Proof of Vaccination

One concern many employers have about mandating the vaccine is asking for proof of vaccination without violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA limits employers’ ability to make employees take a medical exam or get medical information about their employees. Thankfully, asking for proof of a COVID-19 vaccination is not considered a medical exam under the ADA.

Something as simple as a copy of the vaccination record should be enough to satisfy the requirement of proof of vaccination. Be careful not to ask for paperwork that includes pre-vaccination screening questions because those could have information about disabilities your employees might have.

Consider Accommodations for People

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from COVID-19, it’s that we can accomplish a lot of work from our living rooms. It can be tempting as a business owner to require all of your employees to return to the office and to mandate that they receive the COVID-19 vaccine first.

However, even the most carefully strategized plan to return to the office can have some hiccups and liability. Instead of mandating everyone receive the vaccine, consider allowing people who object to the vaccine to work from home. This will help all of your employees to feel supported and reduce your overall liability.

Always Follow Current Vaccine Guidelines

As a business owner, you need to stay on top of the current COVID-19 vaccine guidelines to keep your employees safe and productive. You can mandate that your employees get vaccinated in order to come back to the office, but you need to carefully weigh that mandate with individual rights. Consider making alternative arrangements for people who are not comfortable with receiving the vaccine.

Running your own business and being an effective leader is hard work. You need all the help you can get. Contact GAB International today to learn how we can help you!

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