Can I Make Vaccines Mandatory for My Employees?

by | Jan 22, 2021 | COVID-19, Employer advice, Labor Law, Practice Compliance | 0 comments

This weeks post comes from our friends at CEDR HR. CEDR HR provides Human Resources services for dental practices throughout the US.

We know that dentists and their employees are getting a lot of mixed messages about the COVID-19 vaccine. CEDR HR took your most pressing questions and answered them.

Here are the basics…

Current guidance on how employers should handle the COVID-19 vaccine falls in line with existing guidance around the flu vaccine. You are able to administer vaccines at the workplace, ask for proof of vaccination, and even mandate vaccines. However, there is substantial risk in making a vaccine mandatory, and it is unlikely you could let someone go for not getting vaccinated. 

So… Can I make vaccines mandatory for my employees?

You can technically require employees to get the COVID vaccine without violating federal employment discrimination laws. However, this does not actually mean you can freely let an employee go if they don’t get vaccinated. We recommend that you encourage employees to obtain the vaccine, rather than tie it to an employment policy. 

Even with a “mandatory vaccine” policy, you need to account for employees potentially declining the vaccines due to sincerely-held religious beliefs or medical concerns. If someone raises that type of concern, you need to look at whether you can accommodate having an unvaccinated person in the workplace. 

Ultimately, however, we believe you’d be hard pressed to show that getting the vaccine is an absolute requirement to be able to work at your business. The fact that your own and thousands of other businesses have been open during the pandemic in the absence of vaccines, the data showing that PPE can be quite effective, and the fact that you can regularly expect patients/customers to be there even if unvaccinated, would go against any claim that it’s too dangerous for an employee to refuse the vaccine. 

But there is so much more to this. To read CEDR HR’s entire blog click here.