The Vaccine Issues: Here’s What Lawyers Are Saying About Corporate Vaccine Policies
Carol Goodman, co-chair of Herrick's Litigation Department and chair of the Employment Practice, was quoted in The National Law Journal in an article discussing considerations for employers regarding COVID-19 vaccine policies.
Carol noted that companies should not only focus on an employee’s religious objections, but also whether the exemption creates an undue burden for the employer. One example would be if a teacher needed to leave for one hour during the day for a prayer service, and the school could not get coverage. In that case, the company would not necessarily have to provide a religious exemption. In the context of COVID-19, Carol said, an employer would have to weigh the burden of having an employee who is not vaccinated coming into work against the potential risk posed to others.
"You should ask fewer questions about the sincerely held belief, and focus more on an undue hardship," Carol said. "An undue hardship is largely dependent on the industry, and whether the position is customer-facing," she explained. "Then there has to be a question of whether an employer will allow an employee exempted from a vaccination requirement to work from home."
Carol also reminded employers that the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) does not recommend giving monetary incentives to employees to get vaccinated.
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