Should employers require employees to get COVID-19 vaccines?

Coronavirus

(WWLP) – As COVID-19 vaccines become widely available across the country, many people heading back into the office may be wondering if they’ll be required to get vaccinated before returning to work.

“So, I am leaning towards yes,” said Grace Direnzo of Northampton. “But I am sure it’s a more complicated issue and multiple sides a context-dependent.”

“I think it might be a little too earlier to absolutely require it,” said Luke Brown. “Like a lot of workplaces do require vaccines like the flu shot every year.”

Attorney James Winston of James B. Winston Law Offices in Northampton says employers may encourage or possibly require COVID-19 vaccinations.

“However, there are two real main exceptions,” said Winston. “One is if the employee has some type of disability-related reason for not wanting to get the vaccine or if they have some religious belief against getting the vaccine.”

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission employers,’ policies on COVID-19 vaccines must comply with the Americans with Disability Act among other workplace laws.

If an employee cannot be vaccinated because of a disability or for religious reasons, Winston told 22News that an employer would have to try to create reasonable accommodations for that employee, such as working remotely. However, accommodations could also not be made if it is a great expense or burden on the employer.

MA state leaders disagree about vaccine mandates for public employees

Gov. Charlie Baker recently said that he does not plan to put in a vaccine mandate in the state at this time, especially if it would result in someone losing their job.

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