Lately we have been asked by our clients whether or not they can mandate the Covid-19 Vaccine for their employees. While the answer is “yes,” whether they should or not requires a careful evaluation of not only the industry they operate in, but the location of the business, business needs and operations, the number of employees, risks v. benefits, other options to the vaccine and more.
Every analysis should also include what exceptions, or accommodations, exist to such a mandate when an employee says “no” to getting the vaccine. Is saying “no” enough to avoid an employer’s vaccine mandate? Well, no. The law requires that employers go a step further to understand why the employee is refusing to get the Covid-19 vaccine and to determine if an accommodation is required due to a legitimate medical reason or sincere religious belief or practice.
Once an employer becomes aware that an exception to the mandate might exist, they have a duty to engage in the interactive process. The goal of the interactive process is to explore if this exception presented by your employee is legitimate and identify possible accommodations for that particular employee. But remember, just because your employee thinks you are entitled to be accommodated, or want a particular accommodation, does not mean you, the employer, is required to provide an accommodation or the one your employee desires. How the interactive process goes, the results of an accommodation, if any, are all based on the specific factual circumstances, which vary from company to company and job to job.
To learn more about whether your business is suitable for a Covid-19 vaccine mandate, your obligations as an employer to engage in the interactive process when exceptions are presented by your employee, whether these are exceptions are proper and require accommodation, and to make sure your Covid-19 protocols are still being followed (vaccine or no vaccine) contact the Employer Lawyers at Chauvel & Glatt.
This material in this article, provided by Chauvel & Glatt, is designed to provide informative and current information as of the date of the post. It should not be considered, nor is it intended to constitute legal advice. For information on your particular circumstances, please contact Chauvel & Glatt at 650-573-9500.