Nathaniel M. Glasser, Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s Washington, DC, office, was quoted in the Chicago Tribune, in “Employers Can Require COVID-19 Vaccination. Here’s What Companies and Workers Need to Know.” The article was authored by Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz.
Following is an excerpt:
With COVID-19 vaccinations expected to start in Chicago Tuesday, employers eager to return to some semblance of business as usual are contemplating how best to urge workers to get inoculated — and whether to make it mandatory.
Can they require the vaccine? The short answer is yes, with some exceptions, attorneys say. The trickier question is whether they should. …
What are the exceptions? …
An employer’s ability to offer reasonable accommodations can determine whether it makes sense to require vaccination, said Nathaniel Glasser, an attorney with labor and employment firm Epstein Becker Green, which represents management. For example, factories or other workplaces where teleworking is not an option may find a mandate is disruptive to business if they don’t have a plan for addressing people who decline, he said. …
Could employers be held liable if they don’t require their workforce to be vaccinated and people get sick?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires that employers provide a safe work environment. OSHA has not said what role a COVID-19 vaccine plays in that, but experts don’t anticipate that the agency will require employers to mandate vaccination.
“I think it’s more likely that OSHA would require employers to offer or encourage or allow employees to be vaccinated than to mandate a COVID vaccine,” Glasser said.
How can employers encourage employees to get vaccinated without mandating it?
A primary strategy is through educational campaigns to communicate the benefits, safety and efficacy of the vaccines, Glasser said.