Can an Employer Require Employees be Vaccinated?

With the current measles scare around the country there is a growing question about whether an employer can mandate as a condition of employment that its employees provide proof of vaccinations. Disney has required all of its employees who were in contact with infected co-workers to stay home (paid) or prove they have been vaccinated. In most circumstances requiring employees to get vaccinations (like the flu shot each year) will run afoul of the law.

For example, under the Americans with Disabilities Act an employer cannot pry into an employee’s health history (including vaccinations) without a compelling business justification. Generally, the only employers who can do so are those in  the health care industry. Hospitals have a compelling business interest to ensure their employees are vaccinated to avoid infecting their patients, particularly those with compromised immune systems.

Requiring vaccinations may also be at odds with religious beliefs. Because a number of vaccines are made with chicken eggs, employees that are Vegan or do not eat chicken for legitimate religious reasons will likely be protected.

Moreover, prying into vaccination history may create the appearance of discrimination on the basis of a disability or religious freedom. Employers must also be cautious about local and state laws that dovetail with Federal Laws or add prohibited acts to them..

The attorneys at Maduff & Maduff are highly experienced in employment law, specializing in discrimination, wage theft and overtime, as well as civil rights. Contact us today for your employment law needs.