On July 6, 2021, the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) of the U.S. Department of Justice issued a memorandum opinion stating that Section 564 of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (enforced by the Food and Drug Administration –FDA) does not bar private employers from implementing mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies, even though the vaccine’s status still remains as Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).
Following a decision now on appeal from the U.S. District Court for Southern District of Texas, which dismissed a lawsuit challenging a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, the EEOC issued guidance stating that employers may require vaccinations, subject to the exception of providing reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities or sincerely held religious beliefs.
Previously, the FDA, upon granting EUA status to the vaccine, imposed an “option to accept or refuse” receipt of the vaccine without change to the standard of medical care. Some have argued this language prevented public and private entities from imposing vaccination requirements. However, the OLC has concluded this is not the case stating, Section 564 “concerns only the provision of information to potential vaccine recipients and does not prohibit public or private entities from imposing vaccination requirements for vaccines that are subject to EUAs.”
Although employers now have the approval of the Department of Justice and the EEOC to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations in their workplace to fight against the Coronavirus, they still must provide proper accommodations if an employee is eligible for one. If you are an employer and would like more information on your rights and responsibilities to mandate the vaccine, and how to create and implement a mandatory vaccination policy in your workplace, please 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. (photo credit: 123rf.com)