Posted On April 5, 2021
In an article published on March 31, 2021 by Charleston Business Magazine, Columbia Business Monthly and Greenville Business Magazine, Columbia-based Shareholder Reggie Belcher and Associate Hannah Stetson discuss the Covid-19 vaccine as a new challenge for employers and how most must consider whether they can legally require their employees to receive it and if so whether a vaccine mandate is a practical business decision.
Belcher and Stetson explain that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published guidance regarding issues related to mandatory vaccines, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (Title VII). This guidance supports a conclusion that employers can require employees receive the Covid-19 vaccine without violating federal employment laws, subject to limited exceptions under Title VII and the ADA.
“Considering business risks that come with a mandatory vaccine policy is perhaps as important as considering legal risks. By implementing a mandatory vaccine policy, an employer could lose valuable employees who have no legal grounds for objection but simply will not consent to receiving the vaccine. This could be costly to business, both in terms of staffing as well as morale,” explain Belcher and Stetson.
According to Belcher and Stetson, as a practical matter, it could be more effective for an employer to strongly encourage vaccination, provide educational materials to employees regarding the vaccines and consider providing incentives to employees who chose to receive a vaccine.