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Covid-19 cases are on the rise again.
According to the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), cases of Covid-19 have increased in recent weeks. More than 101,000 new cases were reported on August 3, up from around 16,000 new cases on June 1.
While 70% of Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine and half the population is now fully vaccinated, there are still millions of Americans who have yet to be vaccinated. Due to the increase in cases, companies are starting to require workers to be vaccinated against Covid-19 as a condition of employment.
President Joe Biden issued a warrant last week for all federal employees and contractors to get vaccinated or undergo regular Covid-19 tests. This comes on top of news that more and more hotels, gyms and restaurants across the country require proof of vaccination to obtain services.
Here’s how employers plan to require the vaccine from workers and who might be exempt from the mandate.
Which employers require the vaccine?
The government and private employers are demanding the Covid-19 vaccine as a condition of employment.
Mayor LaToya Cantrell of New Orleans The announced vaccination will be mandatory for city employees and contractors starting July 31. The city reported more than 1,000 new cases in a week at the end of July.
“The mechanisms for the vaccination requirement are still under development, as of this writing,” Mayor Cantrell said in an emailed statement to Councilor Forbes. “Currently, about 71% of the employees in our city are vaccinated. We want to see that reach 100%. Vaccines save lives, period, and the city must lead the way. “
Other big cities, like Los Angeles, Denver, and New York City require the Covid-19 vaccine for its employees.
On August 2, Denver was the first city to require the Covid-19 vaccine for its employees and also extended the vaccine’s mandate to employees of private companies. For Denver businesses that do not comply, the public is encouraged to report those businesses.
Beyond local regulations, many national companies such as Wal-Mart, Facebook and Cisco are starting to require vaccinations for their workers.
The mandates are different for each company. Here’s how a few others are handling immunization mandates:
Tyson Foods announced that all workers must receive the Covid-19 vaccine by November 1 (company employees only have until October 1). In an effort to get more workers vaccinated, the company is offering a $ 200 allowance to frontline workers who receive the vaccine.
Before starting as a new hourly employee with Disney, you must show proof of vaccination. Existing hourly workers have a 60-day window, starting July 30, to receive their immunizations.
Almost every industry has started to see mandatory vaccines or vaccination incentives in recent weeks. While Avant-garde does not require employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19 at the moment, it encourages more workers to be vaccinated. The financial giant will pay $ 1,000 to each employee who provides proof of vaccination against Covid-19 by October 1. The offer also extends to workers who received their doses before the announcement.
Can employers vaccinate workers?
According to the CDC, the federal government cannot require vaccination. But state or local governments and private employers may require vaccination under applicable state laws.
“There are a few exceptions to an employer’s ability to impose vaccination,” says Michelle Craig, managing counsel for the Transcendent Law Group in New Orleans. “Although there are not many of them, it is important that employers are aware of these exceptions and know how to have an interactive conversation to determine if these exceptions apply. “
Some states have sought to ban employer-imposed vaccination. In Texas, employers cannot refuse to hire, fire, or discriminate against anyone who does not get a Covid-19 vaccine.
While New Hampshire allows employers to apply a Covid-19 vaccine mandate, employers can only do so if there is a direct threat to the safety of others that other accommodations cannot reduce.
“Since this is a public health emergency, I think we’ll see more employers demanding vaccines and more local leaders encouraging them to do so,” Craig said. “Most states allow employers the flexibility to adopt vaccination mandates for their workplaces. It is likely that employers will continue to impose the vaccine. “
Which workers are exempt from employer vaccination mandates?
Some workers are exempt from adhering to an employer’s vaccination mandate.
Workers whose religious beliefs may conflict with their employer’s immunization requirements may apply for an exemption. An employer must agree to a statement about their religious beliefs and accommodate the employee, according to the guidelines of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
If an employer cannot accommodate the worker, the employer can allow the worker to perform their duties outside of the workplace, but cannot automatically fire the employee. For example, reasonable accommodation would allow an unvaccinated employee to work at a social distance from other workers, telecommute, or take periodic tests for Covid-19.
Craig says an employee will not have much recourse to prevent an employer from imposing a vaccination policy for the good of the employer’s workplace. She suggests speaking with your employer’s human resources department to determine if the exemption qualifies.