Can your employer fire you if you refuse to get a COVID vaccine?


For workers returning to the office, a very different scene awaits them in a COVID-19 world.

The country is currently preparing for COVID-19 vaccinations, outlining the timeline and plans for getting the vaccine to Americans across the nation.

According to Today, if Pfizer and BioNTech vaccines get authorized, distribution will begin in several days.

A recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center reported that four in ten Americans say they would “definitely” or “probably” not get a vaccine.

The question is, can your boss fire you if you refuse to get a vaccine? The answer is yes, but there are a few exceptions.

“A couple of my corporate clients are leaning toward making the COVID vaccine mandatory,” Rogge Dunn, a Dallas labor and employment attorney said.

His clients include companies manufacturing food and beverage.

Mandating the vaccine in the workplace: One of Dunn’s clients in the restaurant industry says this requirement will be a “game changer” for business.

“They think it gives them a competitive advantage,” Dunn said. “They could say to their customers, ‘Hey, our restaurant is safe. All of our employees have been vaccinated.’”

Dunn explained how under the law, an employer can't force their employee to get vaccinated. However, if they don’t get it, the employer can fire them.

Dorit Reiss, a professor at the University of California Hastings College of Law, said that private businesses have rights.

“Requiring a vaccine is a health and safety work rule, and employers can do that,” Reiss said.

There are a few exceptions: If a workforce is unionized, the agreement may require discussing with the union before forcing a vaccine for the company.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, eligible employees can request an exemption. Also, under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, if taking the vaccine is a violation of a “sincerely held” religious belief, an employee can opt out.

Mandatory vaccination protocols may have to wait until the FDA approves the process for the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine.

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram