The short answer: it depends.
Employers may require employees physically entering the workplace to be vaccinated against COVID-19. However, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations for employees who, because of a disability or a sincerely held religious belief do not get vaccinated for COVID-19, unless providing an accommodation would pose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer's business. The analysis for undue hardship depends on whether the accommodation is for a disability (including pregnancy-related conditions that constitute a disability) or for religion.
Although employers may require on-site employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine, many have opted for an incentive-based vaccination approach, giving employees the option to get vaccinated, and if they choose to they will receive a small bonus or even time off. These incentive-based strategies have been adopted by large organizations such as CVS, Kroker, and Target, and are entirely legal, as long as the incentives to get vaccinated are not so grandiose that they become “coercive.”
Employers should keep in mind that some individuals or demographic groups may face greater barriers to receiving a COVID-19 vaccination than others. Some employees may be more likely to be negatively impacted by a vaccination requirement, potentially exposing employers to disparate impact discrimination claims.
If you would like to discuss your business' COVID-19 vaccination policy or if you believe you should be exempt from your employer's COVID-19 vaccination requirements because of a disability or sincerely held religious belief, contact Moosbrugger Law to find out how we can help.