Can It Be: The Vaccinated-only Workplace?

Can It Be: The Vaccinated-only Workplace?

Recently private and public employers announced they are requiring that all onsite employees be vaccinated.  Well-known companies such as Disney, Walmart, Google, Facebook and Tyson Foods have mandated that all or some of their employees adhere to this requirement (the largest exceptions being retail locations or conditions of union agreements).  In the public sphere, certain federal agencies are issuing vaccination requirements.  A recent US Supreme Court pronouncement upheld the right of the University of Indiana to insist that all students, faculty and staff on campus be vaccinated.  Most of these requirements do have religious and medical exceptions.

Abel Personnel and the clients we serve had been speculating ever since vaccinations became available whether corporate human resources will mandate that staff be vaccinated (as a requirement for employment).  This month we’ve received our first notification from a client company requiring vaccinations or weekly negative tests.  As we adjust our staff recruiting and management practices to accommodate this, we recommend that you anticipate your company reaching the same conclusion, and develop policies and procedures now for once that mandate is received.

Some of the elements that our client has included that may inform your efforts:

  • This requirement is presented as the company fulfilling its duty to provide and maintain a workplace that is free of known hazards, to safeguard the health of employees and their families, customers and visitors, and the community at large from infectious diseases that may be reduced by vaccinations.
  • The guidelines and recommendations are cited from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, and state and local health officials.
  • The company will pay related vaccination costs and these can be scheduled on company time.
  • Individuals may seek an exemption from this requirement for medical or religious reasons by completing a request for accommodation.
  • The vaccinations must be received by a specific date, roughly 5 weeks from notice.
  • While there is still no word on what proof employees will need to provide that they were vaccinated, we expect this company will follow the lead of their peers in requiring employees to certify their vaccination status subject to disciplinary action, including termination, if the vaccination status is misrepresented.
  • No options for masking or working remote as an alternative.

We will keep you updated as this process is refined.  Your thoughts and your company’s new requirements would be appreciated so we can all learn together how to best navigate this new normal.

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