The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has updated its COVID-19 frequently asked questions (FAQs) to address mandatory and voluntary vaccine policies and whether employers may offer incentives for employees and their family members to receive vaccines. As noted below, this new and updated EEOC guidance at Section K of the FAQs clearly endorses vaccine mandates and incentives under federal law (subject to certain conditions), but employers should take note that such programs may not be permissible under state or local law (see FAQ Section K introduction). Employers that are subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should not only become familiar with these FAQs, but also review the EEOC’s full guidance and other applicable laws with their labor/employment advisers.
Some highlights from the EEOC FAQs are as follows:
Employers May Provide Information and Voluntary Vaccines
Employers May Mandate Vaccines for Employees
Employers May Offer Incentives to Employees
Employers May Encourage Family Member Vaccinations
Employers May Ask for Documentation from Employees
These new and updated FAQs were much needed for the business community as they clarify the types of programs employers may design to address employee COVID-19 vaccinations. They also clarify the extent to which employers may require or provide incentives for employees or employees’ family members to receive vaccines. Employers should also be sure to follow the most current guidelines and suggestions for maintaining workplace safety, as issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and any applicable state or local health agencies.
Employers should watch for any further developments related to the EEOC and state and local rules and review their vaccine programs with labor counsel as certain of these programs could open them up to discrimination claims. Please contact your Conner Strong & Buckelew account representative toll free at 1-877-861-3220 with any questions. For a complete list of Legislative Updates issued by Conner Strong & Buckelew, visit our online Resource Center.