The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released new guidelines addressing questions arising under the federal equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws.
This new information discusses guidelines for vaccination requirements at the workplace, incentives for employees to provide documentation or other confirmation of vaccination, and incentivizing employees to get a vaccine from the employer or its agent.
- Employers can require employees physically entering the workplace to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Federal EEO laws do not prevent it, so long as employers comply with reasonable accommodation provisions. However, employers should keep in mind that some underrepresented groups of employees can face greater barriers to receiving the COVID-19 vaccination and could be negatively impacted by a vaccination requirement.
- Employers can offer incentives to employees to voluntarily provide proof or documentation of vaccination. You can offer them any incentive you’d like with no apparent limitations. However, obtained information must be kept confidential pursuant to the ADA.
- Employers that administer vaccines to their employees may offer incentives for employees to be vaccinated, as long as the incentives are not too highly valued because they may be considered to be coercive.
- Employers may provide employees and their family members with information to educate them about COVID-19 vaccines and raise awareness about the benefits of vaccination.
Of course, there may still be limitations and considerations. Employers should note that other local, state, or federal laws that are not under the EEOC’s jurisdiction may put additional restrictions on requirements and incentives.