Can Employers Mandate COVID-19 Vaccines?

“The answer is yes, employers can require employees to get the vaccine once it’s available,” says labor attorney Richard Roth. But there are exceptions, which include religious beliefs or disability-based objections. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, employers can legally require the COVID-19 vaccine for workers, but they must also be prepared to provide “reasonable accommodations” for employees who don’t get the shot for medical or religious reasons.

A majority of employers, including hospitals, are encouraging but not mandating COVID vaccinations.

The country’s second-largest employer, Amazon, tells us it’s not requiring it for its 800,000-plus employees, but it is encouraging the shots. Dollar General, which operates over 15,000 stores, will pay hourly employees for their time to get inoculated or give salaried employees paid time off to get the injection.

Because of the lack of available vaccines, a requirement isn’t practical right now, but that might change in the future.

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