The COVID-19 pandemic has put the concept of vaccination mandates into the public eye. Mandates are not a new concept. States require core vaccines before children can start school, while many countries have requirements for immigration and travel.
But the ongoing conversation about vaccination mandates in the workplace is causing more confusion than ever. Understanding 2022 OSHA vaccination mandates and state and federal law is crucial as an employer.
The Occupational Safety and Health Organization attempted to set rules for large companies with more than 100 workers. The proposed mandates would have required employees to get vaccinated or participate in regular testing to stop the spread of COVID-19.The United States Supreme Court ended up blocking the mandate.
However, the Court did approve a mandate for Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services. This mandate requires healthcare workers in facilities that take federal funds to get vaccinated or get regular COVID-19 tests.
While the Supreme Court blocked the 2022 OSHA vaccination mandates, states and cities can still impose them in certain situations.
California famously requires all state and healthcare workers to show proof of vaccination or get tested at least once a week. Meanwhile, states like Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and more have banned state and local mandates.
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, companies can mandate COVID-19 vaccinations or ask for proof of immunization. However, the policies they put in place must also comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act to provide reasonable accommodations.
This area is somewhat vague. The EEOC also says that reasonable accommodations aren't necessary if the threat of COVID-19 directly impacts employees and the business itself.
Many companies already have vaccination mandates to protect employees and their families. As you navigate this confusing and controversial topic, make sure to familiarize yourself with local laws and understand your rights. All businesses are different, and the processes for obtaining exemptions are complex. The last thing you want to do is open your company up to legal issues for not following the law.