Could You Be Fired for Not Taking the COVID Vaccine?
With the long-awaited COVID-19 vaccine finally expected to roll out in the United States in about a week (most estimates put Louisiana's target date around the 14th of December) - some very heavy questions surround the reality of actually inoculating the masses against a disease that has killed more than a quarter of a million people in this country alone. In order for us to climb out of this pit of restrictions and fear, a very significant portion of the population (at least 70% according to health officials) will have to take it, but how do you make sure you reach an percentage of Americans?
The answer seems to be making the vaccine a requirement in some way. Very likely examples that have been floated around include barring non-vaccinated folks from using mass-transit (like planes and cruise ships) and attending public school. Now, your very job could be at risk if you refuse to take it.
CNBC is reporting that it seems to be totally legal for your employer to require proof of a COVID-19 vaccination in order for you to stay employed - with a few exceptions. This concept already exists in some industries in our country today. Some health-care companies require their employees to take a flu shot every year in order to control the disease among staff in hospitals and clinics across the country. Since this is a health issue that can affect everyone on staff, they are well within their rights to require it. We could see a majority of job providers in the U.S. adopt the same requirement.
Not only can your employer (most likely) legally require it, they are exempt from legal and /or civil repercussions if their are nasty side-effects from the shot. According to the report, any bad reactions would be treated as an on the job injury and would be taken care of through worker's compensation (if your employer offers it).
Those exceptions I mentioned earlier? 3 specific conditions could exempt you from taking the vaccine. The first is a medical reason. If you are unable to take the shot due to a verified and documented condition, you could request to opt-out under the Americans with Disabilities Act. In that case, your employer would be required to provide reasonable accommodations like allowing the employee to work remotely. If taking the vaccine would violate your sincerely held religious beliefs, you could request an exemption as well. The final possibility only exists if you are part of a union. That's when collective bargaining could derail an employer's plan for an inoculation requirement.
I'm sure, at some point, if a company does decide to mandate that employees get vaccinated it will end up in court. In fact, legal 'experts' around the country are already preparing for a potential legal battle.
Personally, I'll have no problem taking the shot. If it can protect me and those around me and get this country back on the rails economically speaking - I'm all for it. I just hope that a large enough number of my fellow Americans feel the same way.