Can You Lose Your Job For Refusing To Take A Vaccine?
The first COVID-19 vaccines might be authorized for emergency use as early as this month: Pfizer might get approval for their vaccines (and other companies are working on developing vaccines as well). Pfizer is preparing to distribute their vaccine as soon as they are permitted to.
But just as difficult as the logistics of getting the vaccine to millions of Americans is the challenge of convincing everyone to actually take the vaccine.
About 40% of Americans say they would “definitely” or “probably” not get a vaccine, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center. Those numbers are concerning to some, as experts say that between 60% to 70% of the population needs to be vaccinated or have natural antibodies for the country to achieve “herd immunity.”
But some companies might make vaccinations mandatory for employees, according to CNBC. They spoke to Rogge Dunn, a Dallas labor and employment attorney, who works with companies in the manufacturing and food/beverage industries. Dunn said that one of his restaurant clients thinks that a compulsory inoculation requirement could be a game changer for business. “They could say to their customers, ‘Hey, our restaurant is safe. All of our employees have been vaccinated.'”
And, he notes: “Under the law, an employer can force an employee to get vaccinated, and if they don’t take it, fire them.”
CNBC also spoke to Dorit Reiss, a professor at the University of California Hastings College of Law, who said that private businesses have pretty extensive rights. “Requiring a vaccine is a health and safety work rule, and employers can do that.”
The article notes that there could be some exemptions to this: if a work force is unionized, a union could fight against mandatory vaccines.
There are other notable exceptions: under the Americans with Disabilities Act, workers with medical issues can be exempt from mandatory vaccinations. And under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, if taking the vaccine is a violation of a “sincerely held” religious belief, that could be cause for an exemption as well.