The healthcare sector and possibly education is where vaccinating employees may be required./File
Photo: Aurelia Ventura / Impremedia / La Opinion
In Russia, China and the United Kingdom, the first vaccines against COVID have already been given and in the rest of the world it will be a matter of time before it is. Little time. And with this comes the doubt to employers and workers: Will it be mandatory in my job? Can the employer force me?
Alexander Alonso, director of knowledge for SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management, says this is a question that many employers are also asking themselves and the answer is “it depends.”
“In many cases employers may actually require it [la vacuna] and make it mandatory if it is considered part of job security or a job requirement. In many cases you will see employers saying that they would like their workers to be vaccinated but this is not a job requirement or a business need because they cannot really force anyone to wear it. For employers where it is a business need, it may be required, as is the case with health providers ”.
This is something in which she agrees with Elaine Turner, a partner at the employment law firm Hall Estill. Turner explains that the federal mandate is that employers can require it in case an employee’s ability to perform their essential job is impacted by COVID 19 or is a threat due to this disease. “This is an easy determination for the healthcare industry but not so easy for other employers outside of this industry.”
Alonso speculates that this may also be the case for educators. Health, education, laboratories, are jobs “that can ask for proof of vaccination as a condition of employment and those workers will be the first.”
It is possible that the CDC or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) could say something about it given that the virus has been declared a pandemic but in previous crises such as H1N1 or the flu it was determined that employers could not order your employees to get vaccinated. The situation may change but until this happens some employers may ask for it and others may suggest it.
Alonso does not rule out that the courts could redefine the scope of what is safe in a job. “There is a possibility of interpretation.”
And in hiring processes, is it legal to ask if the job seeker has the vaccine?
Alonso says that it is something that can be asked because the laws that establish protections against possible discriminatory practices do not contemplate the group of those vaccinated or not, but he does not recommend that decisions be made about hiring or not based solely on this situation. This expert advises that job seekers be informed that having the vaccine is a condition of employment before they apply for the job.
“If it is something that as an employer it is decided that it is a condition of employment then it can be requested but in that case the job seeker must be informed. It is not a problem from a legal point of view, at least at this moment ”.
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