Our office gets calls every day from workers with concerns. The short answer is, yes, under most circumstances your employer can require vaccination. Typically, the mandate must be job related and consistent with business necessity. This can include a requirement that an individual “not pose a direct threat to the health or safety of individuals in the workplace.”
The biggest issue for employers is recognizing an accommodation request from an employee with a disability. Once an employee disability is identified, the ADA provides important accommodation guidance. However,
As to religious beliefs, the EEOC has said that an employer “should ordinarily assume that an employee’s request for religious accommodation is based on a sincerely held religious belief,” according to the EEOC. “However, if an employee requests a religious accommodation, and an employer is aware of facts that provide an objective basis for questioning either the religious nature or the sincerity of a particular belief, practice or observance, the employer would be justified in requesting additional supporting information.” Of course, the undue hardship exemptions apply here, too. In short, there will likely be very few qualifying exemptions, but employees should not be deterred if their need is sincere, qualified and accommodatable.
Check back here for more updates, as the EEOC is rolling out new guidance almost monthly.