Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Clarifies Permissible COVID-19 Vaccine Incentives & Requirements
Just before the Memorial Day weekend, the EEOC provided long-awaited formal guidance (aka “technical assistance”) surrounding vaccine incentives and requirements, in addition to updating several FAQs. IAM has followed this area closely for member companies, as vaccine incentives, requirements and other disclosures have been under review since late last year. As noted throughout the EEOC’s FAQ and technical assistance documents, employers should keep in mind potential employee limitations and provide reasonable accommodations within the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines.
Highlights of the guidance are below:
- Employers may require COVID-19 vaccinations for all employees physically entering the workplace, as long as they comply with outlined ADA provisions.
- Under the ADA, limited vaccine exemptions are provided for sincerely held religious beliefs (or similar). If an exemption is requested, the employer may be permitted to ask for additional information, require mask use and periodic COVID-19 testing, require the employee to tele or remote work, or implement other workplace adjustments.
- Employers are not prevented from offering incentives to employees who choose to voluntarily provide documentation from a vaccination received outside of the workplace. Confirmation of vaccine receipt, and similar health information should be held in a confidential manner.
- Similarly, employers that oversee administration of vaccines to their employees may offer incentives to employees, as long as the incentives are not coercive in nature. The EEOC refers to “coercive”, in the context of “very large incentives.”
- All pre-screen COVID-19 vaccine questions should be structured so employees do not feel pressured to disclose protected medical information.
If you have questions regarding the new guidance, ADA applicability or similar employer COVID-19 requirements, click here.
As always, the information provided in IAM's Government and Regulatory updates should not be construed as legal guidance. If you have questions on the guidance, please contact Bryan Vickers with IAM's Government and Regulatory Affairs team, firstname.lastname@example.org, 703-403-2882.