Be sure to review the full set of Technical Assistance on the EEOC’s website: What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws., It notes originating dates, updated dates, and dates of the newly provided guidance. You will need to scroll a bit to get to the updated information, which starts at Section K. Vaccinations.
- K.1. Employers CAN require all employees physically entering the workplace to be vaccinated. However, note that it is subject to the reasonable accommodation provisions mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Remember that there may be situations like a disability or a religious belief that the employer must take into consideration. Note: sections K12 and 13 go more into detail about these topics and are worth the read.
- K.3. Since May of 2021, the U.S. federal government has made free vaccines available to everyone ages 12 and older. Employers have options to encourage employees and their families to be vaccinated but should be sure to follow the guidance on how to stay compliant with the EEO laws under the ADA and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).
- K.4. Don’t forget that any information about vaccinations is an employee’s medical information and subject to confidentiality.
- K. 8-11. We found this section particularly interesting, as it covers Voluntary Employer Vaccination Programs and provides guidance to determine whether or not inquiries are “disability-related”.
- K. 14-15. If you read the original Technical Assistance documentation from 2020, you’re already aware of this, but for others, it is important to know that GINA is another requirement you must adhere to when managing COVID-19 and vaccinations. Just to be sure, here is a checklist of questions provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help employers remain compliant with GINA guardrails.
To get more employees back to work, employers have made it no secret that they are willing to incentivize voluntary vaccinations. This is a good thing, provided that they don’t make those incentives contingent on information that would be a violation of GINA. In addition to the checklist provided above, sections K.18-21 are useful to navigate this process.
Guardian continuously tracks and analyzes current and pending leave and accommodation legislation to determine potential impacts to our customers. In addition, Guardian monitors guidance from agencies such as the Department of Labor and the EEOC, and incorporates that guidance into our policies and procedures, when appropriate.