Can Your Boss Make You Get a Covid Vaccine?

Houston Methodist Hospital rankled public feathers when they required all staff get a Covid 19 vaccine or lose their job at the end of March. Your boss could do the same.

“It’s becoming very common amongst a lot of employers, especially the medical field where you’re dealing with patients or vulnerable populations,” says employment attorney Jon Bell, a small business expert and founder of The Bell Law Group. “I’ve seen these mandates. They’re legal. Everybody is an ‘at will’ employee so you can be terminated.” The exceptions allowing exemption are religion and disabilities, but you have to be prepared to document both, for example demonstrating that you have never had any vaccination if you are claiming a disability, or proving an established religion forbids the practice.

PNC Financial Services surveyed 150 Houston businesses to find out how vaccine policies are evolving.

Three-out-of-four say they will encourage their staff to get shots (76%) and 43% say they will require it.

36% will provide staff with education or assistance, and 20% say they’ll offer incentives.

The survey found Houston-area businesses even more optimistic than is some other parts of the country.

62% of businesses told the surveyors they are facing challenges to remain open, and a quarter say given current economic conditions they could last one more year and that’s it. 53% are banking on vaccines bringing back a return to normalcy.

Several tech companies, including IBM, Microsoft and Oracle are developing some type of digital “proof of vaccine” passports that might be used to allow access to sports stadiums, concerts, airports and other public facilities.

The EEOC says generally employers have the right to require employees to get one of the emergency approved vaccinations, allowing for religious and medical exceptions.

photo: Getty Images

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