An increasing number of employers, including state and local governments, school districts, healthcare networks, and private businesses, now mandate coronavirus vaccination as a condition of employment, raising legal questions about the extent that an employer can compel an employee’s medical choices. So far, the legal review seems to benefit employers’ right to require the vaccines: a federal judge in Texas upheld a hospital system’s vaccine requirement for its employees, and the US Equal Opportunity Commission has affirmed employers’ right to establish such a requirement.
However, a substantial portion of the population remains uncertain of coronavirus vaccines’ safety and efficacy and is hesitant to get vaccinated, even when required to do so by an employer. That has led to numerous lawsuits, filed by individual employees, classes, and unions on behalf of employees governed by collective bargaining agreements. Because the prevailing opinions support employers’ rights to impose mandates, the most successful cases will likely focus on whether employers accommodate those who cannot receive the vaccine due to medical reasons or their religious beliefs.
Those who believe they have legal grounds to refuse to get a mandated vaccine, or who believe they have been terminated improperly, should consult with an attorney to determine whether they have grounds to file a lawsuit. You can read more about vaccine mandates and the legal issues surrounding them here.