EEOC Issues Guidance for Employers on COVID-19 Vaccine

On December 20, 2020, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), responsible for recommendations on US adult and childhood immunizations, voted to recommend the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for persons 18 years of age and older under the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Emergency Use Authorization.

December 22, 2020

On December 16, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued Q&As outlining rules for workplace policies related to the COVID-19 vaccines. We summarize below the most significant guidance for employers:

  • 1 | Mandatory vaccines. Employers can require employees to be vaccinated as a condition of entering the workplace.
  • 2 | Accommodations. Although employers can require vaccinations, they also must accommodate employees who are unable to receive a COVID-19 vaccination because of a disability or a sincerely held religious practice or belief. Employers must engage with employees to determine reasonable accommodations, which may include telework or other solutions.
  • 3 | State laws. Employers should keep in mind that some states have laws that prohibit employers from requiring vaccinations.
  • 4 | Pre-vaccination questions. Pre-vaccination medical screening questions, if asked by an employer, must be voluntary or “job-related and consistent with business necessity.” Employers must keep any medical information in responses confidential. However, these requirements do not apply if employees receive vaccines from a third party that does not have a contract with an employer, such as a pharmacy or other health care provider.

Effective Date

These Q&As interpret existing law and regulations and therefore are effective immediately.

What's Next?

We will provide a more detailed discussion of the above guidance in our next regulatory and compliance webinar on January 21, 2020 at 12:30PM ET. Members can register here.

We expect that in the coming weeks and months, agencies will continue to issue guidance related to COVID-19, the workplace, and employer-sponsored health coverage. We will keep our members updated of any new guidance.

Resources

If you have questions, comments, or concerns about these or other regulatory and compliance issues, please contact us.

We provide this material for informational purposes only; it is not a substitute for legal advice.

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