What to Consider Before Requiring Workers to Get COVID-19 Vaccinations

May 11, 2021

In most states employers may legally require their workers to get COVID-19 vaccinations, provided that they make reasonable accommodations for medical or religious objections. However, doing so could result in negative consequences, so there are several items your company should consider before deciding whether to require their workers to get vaccinated.

  • If your company requires a worker to get vaccinated and that worker has an adverse reaction to the vaccine, and the results of the adverse reaction meet the criteria for an OSHA recordable injury (medical treatment beyond first aid, days away from work, etc.), OSHA considers the case to be “work-related.” Employers are required to treat the case as a “recordable illness;”
  • If your company requires a worker to get vaccinated and that worker has an adverse reaction to the vaccine, in some states the case could result in a worker’s compensation claim. Be sure to check with your worker’s compensation carrier before you proceed;
  • If your company requires a worker to get vaccinated and that worker has an adverse reaction to the vaccine, and the case is not covered by worker’s compensation the employer may be subject to a lawsuit;
  • Some states may prohibit employers from mandating the vaccines; and
  • Mandating vaccines may violate local collective bargaining agreements.
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