The Delta variant surge of COVID-19 has been unrelenting. Related U.S. deaths for the week of August 17 totaled 7,225 and continue to rise. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that being fully-vaccinated is the best way to prevent hospitalization, and ultimately death, arising out of the virus.
Earlier this year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) stated that employers can require COVID-19 vaccines. Many employers have turned to mandatory vaccination programs in an effort to minimize potential loss of life and risk to business operations. But can employers require vaccination as a job requirement in a recruitment process?
The EEOC has said that vaccination can be a job requirement for candidates. However, if a candidate states that they cannot obtain the vaccine because of religious belief or an actual or perceived disability, the employer must engage with them via an interactive process, examining whether a reasonable accommodation might be possible. This approach requires individualized attention to a candidate’s concerns and the nature of their objection. I recommend developing a policy surrounding vaccination for both employees and candidates before implementing such a requirement. A written document (along with training for responsible staff) helps minimize liability by clarifying the process and obligations on both sides of the recruitment process.
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Theodora Stringham assists individuals, businesses, and organizations with growing successfully while minimizing liability. Focusing on real estate and personnel needs, Ms. Stringham executes sustainable plans for real estate development and employee matters. She provides comprehensive representation for everyday growth issues, including, but not limited to, re-zonings, site plan approvals, eminent domain/valuation concerns, employment discrimination, and disciplinary issues. Ms. Stringham’s scope of representation ranges from identifying potential liability and providing counseling/trainings, all the way through representation at trial.
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