Employee Vaccination Policy (Mandatory)
DMCs, along with other types of employers, have a general duty to provide a safe working environment under the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act). The COVID-19 global pandemic has created additional health and safety challenges for DMCs.
Federal administrative agencies have provided guidance for employers regarding COVID-19, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Until December 2020, recommended health and safety measures were largely limited to:
Maintaining social distancing or physical distancing.
Requiring employees to wear face masks or other face coverings, especially when sufficient social distancing cannot be maintained.
General cleaning and hygiene measures.
Employee health screenings and temperature checks.
The CDC now also emphasizes the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine as a safe and effective way of preventing illness to oneself and protecting others. As of May 12, 2021, all individuals aged 12 and older in the US are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. With more widespread vaccine distribution and availability, DMCs may consider including an employee vaccination policy as part of their COVID-19 prevention and mitigation protocols.
Some DMCs may want to require that employees get vaccinated as a condition of returning to or continuing to work at the DMC's principal place of business or onsite at a program (if permitted to do so in the jurisdictions where they employ workers). Others may simply opt to strongly encourage vaccination on a voluntary basis without requiring it. Employers should consider the benefits and risks of any vaccination policy.
This policy is for DMCs that want to require certain or all employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment, subject to legally required accommodations or other exemptions, and where not prohibited by state or local law.
If your DMC prefers implementing a voluntary policy, please inform DMC Coalition.
Things to keep in mind when reviewing and editing this policy to suit your needs:
Bracketed items that are highlighted yellow are either optional terms or include alternative language to be selected, added, or deleted at the drafter’s discretion.
Although the EEOC has taken the position that mandatory vaccination policies do not violate federal anti-discrimination laws, some states have passed laws restricting businesses from requiring vaccination as a condition of employment or entry on the premises. This includes laws in:
- Montana. Montana H.B. 702 is the first law of its kind designating vaccination status as a protected class under the state's anti-discrimination laws. The law prohibits employers from refusing to employ or discriminating against individuals based on their vaccination status or possession of an immunity passport. The law also provides that individuals cannot be required to get any vaccine where it is only EUA-authorized or undergoing safety trials. Mandatory employee vaccination policies would violate this law.
- Florida. Fl. S.B. 2006, Section 18, adding § 381.00316, Fla. Stat., prohibits businesses from requiring customers or patrons to provide proof of vaccination as a condition to entry on premises or receiving services. Although it does not specifically prohibit employers from requiring their employees to be vaccinated, Florida employers should be aware of this prohibition and consider whether a mandatory vaccination program is advisable given the state's position on this issue as reflected in this legislation.
- It is unclear whether these types of protections will be enacted in other jurisdictions. New York has proposed a law enacting anti-discrimination protections for individuals who choose to get vaccinated. DMC Coalition will continue to follow these and other developments in this rapidly changing legal environment.