Now that the Pfizer Vaccine Has Been Given Full Approval, Can Employers Require Employees to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine?
August 25, 2021
Author: Laura Friedel
Yes, though employers still must consider accommodation requests.
While employers were in a good position requiring vaccines before, the full approval of the Pfizer vaccine makes it even clearer that workplace vaccine mandates are permissible.
However, employers still have to consider accommodation requests from employees who claim that they can’t get the vaccine for medical reasons, religious reasons, or pregnancy. Whether a refusal to be vaccinated triggers a right to accommodation, and whether allowing an employee to not be vaccinated will depend on the circumstances. Employers have a good argument that having an unvaccinated employee would cause an undue burden and/or direct threat to other employees, and that, as a result, no accommodation is required by law. However, even if making this argument, it’s still important to go through the accommodation process and consider whether there are other steps that could be taken that would allow the employee to remain unvaccinated while not causing the employer an undue burden or creating a direct threat to others. Employers should also check state and local law for relevant requirements.
LP will continue to monitor guidance related to administering the vaccine and update the answer to this question accordingly.