Legal experts say private businesses can require employees to get vaccinated

Published: Apr. 19, 2021 at 6:03 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Legal experts say private businesses can require employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“There really isn’t a barrier to requiring a vaccination,” said Tara Sklar, a health policy expert at the University of Arizona. “There’s a lot of back and forth about whether, could there be, and the courts haven’t really ruled.”

Sklar says healthcare industries, schools or even grocery stores may choose to mandate employees become vaccinated for public safety. If they follow suit, businesses must decide how long the requirement would last especially if boosters are involved and how to enforce it.

“The vaccine cards can vary across the country as far as how they look. They’re also easy to forge. Are you just relying on word of mouth or the actual vaccine cards?” Sklar said.

Health conditions and disabilities are an exception to the vaccine requirement. Sharon E. Rennert, the senior attorney with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s office of legal council, said the employer is allowed to ask for medical documentation.

“To substantiate what the employee is saying and why it would be medically inadvisable to be vaccinated,” Rennert said.

She said religious beliefs also provide an exemption.

“There’s all kinds of law around that so that employers aren’t second guessing around the religious belief or practice,” she said.

For now, it’s up to businesses to choose whether or not they will require a vaccinated workplace.

“It’s all coming from a place of trying to promote public health,” Sklar said. “I think focusing on that as opposed to some of the more negative aspects of what a mandate might imply could be helpful.”

The CDC said an employer can’t require an employee show any medical information as part of the proof of vaccination.

Copyright 2021 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.