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Would Employers Get Sued Over Mandatory Vaccinations?

Pop art line Syringe icon isolated on color background. Syringe for vaccine, vaccination, injection, flu shot. Medical equipment. Vector Illustration

December 3, 2020

No Covid vaccine has yet been FDA approved, but some employers are already asking whether they will be able to establish mandatory vaccination policies for employees. In years past, there have been lawsuits targeting employers who implemented mandatory flu vaccine policies, under both Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, where the issue was religious discrimination, and under the Americans with Disabilities Act, where the issue was disability discrimination. There is no clear road map here, writes labor and employment attorney Michael Blickman, but some wording in a recently updated EEOC publication, “Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act” – originally issued in 2009 to address the H1N1 virus pandemic – suggests possible government endorsement of mandatory Covid vaccinations. In any case, where vaccinations become mandatory, employee relations are likely to be difficult. One recent poll found that the percentage of U.S. residents who said they were willing to be vaccinated dropped sharply to about 50 percent.

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