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Can Connecticut Employers Mandate the COVID-19 Vaccine?
With the increasing national availability of Covid-19 vaccine variants, many are seeking information concerning when and where they will have the opportunity to become inoculated. Many people are wondering, will employers have the right to require employees to be vaccinated as a condition of employment?
Who is Eligible for the Vaccine?
According to the state website, as of February 11, 2021, eligibility has opened up to all individuals who are Connecticut residents, specifically over the age of 65. Currently, plans to initiate Phase 1c vaccinations are being finalized and are expected to become available to the general public. More information on eligibility can be found at:ct.gov.
Can Employers in CT Require Employees to be Vaccinated?
The answer is yes, but there are some exceptions. Currently, the State of Connecticut has not mandated COVID-19 vaccinations for its residents. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOD) and the United State Justice Department have released guidelines for how employers should address vaccine-related issues. Employers may consider their work environment unsafe due to a high risk of exposure. In fact, employees can be required to be vaccinated against diseases that could compromise health and safety standards in the workplace.
Vaccination issues are likely to cause some degree of tension and controversy with employees at workplaces throughout the state. This is reflective of the various opinions and beliefs that people have on vaccinations. Differences between employees; some will not only want to be vaccinated but will also want the assurance that their colleagues are also vaccinated. While others, for a variety of reasons, will refuse to be vaccinated. Therein lies the heavy burden of employers to determine if the vaccine is a workplace necessity.
Let’s be clear; the state of Connecticut does not mandate any employer to vaccinate employees. However, employers can legally set requirements for their employees to be vaccinated and determine it to be a necessity if there is a bonified reason. Such as a “direct threat” to the business or its employees. Given how highly contagious the novel Coronavirus and the new variants have been, the nature of the “direct threat” may force many workplaces to require their employees to be vaccinated.
If You Refuse to be Vaccinated, Can You Lose Your Job?
Before terminating an employee, an employer must determine whether the employee is worthy of an accommodation and whether they would be protected by local, state or federal regulations and if union labor rules would apply. However, if no other possible accommodation can be made, an employer could potentially terminate an employee for refusing the vaccine.
What If I Suffered A Reaction From The Covid-19 Vaccine That My Employer Required Me To Get?
If the vaccine, required by your employer has caused you harm, you may have a worker’s compensation claim against your employer. It is important to report to your employer what reaction you have suffered immediately and request necessary medical treatment.
For further information about the COVID-19 virus and vaccinations in the workplace, please refer to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website: https://www.eeoc.gov/wysk/what-you-should-know-about-covid-19-and-ada-rehabilitation-act-and-other-eeo-laws
Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. You should not act or refrain from acting based on any content included in this blog without seeking legal advice.