More and more companies are deciding to require proof of vaccination every day. The audit team is breaking down the legal details.
WASHINGTON – Mandates for immunization are appearing more and more, including from private companies and local governments. On social networks, there are many criticisms, wondering if these mandates are legal.
The Verify team spoke with lawyers specializing in employment law to find out when these mandates are authorized and when they are not.
Can a private company issue a vaccine requirement for its staff?
- Nick Woodfield, Director and General Counsel of the Labor Law Group
- Lawrence Gostin, professor of global health law at Georgetown University; Director of the Center for Global Health Law, World Health Organization
Yes, according to our legal experts, a private company is allowed to require vaccines for its staff, as long as it provides an exemption for sincere medical or religious reasons.
WHAT WE KNOW
According to Nick Woodfield of the Employment Law Group and Lawrence Gostin of Georgetown Law, a private company is able to demand a vaccine for its staff and even fire an employee if they refuse.
“In the United States, it’s mostly all-around jobs,” Gostin said. Employment at will means that an employer can fire or fire an employee without warning and for any reason – in addition to being able to fire them for regular violations or causes.
In a system with “employment at will”, an employer can dismiss a staff member for any reason, provided this does not discriminate against a protected class.
“You can’t hire people because they don’t like strawberries,” Woodfield said. “You can’t hire people because they’re wearing their baseball caps upside down in Facebook photos. You can’t hire anyone for a multitude of reasons, or not allow them to work in your office for a reason. multitude of reasons. ”
Characteristics such as race, gender and disability are protected from discrimination because of laws passed at the federal level. Likewise, vaccination mandates could become illegal if laws are passed at the local, state or federal level.
“Until it’s illegal,” said Woodfield, “it’s legal to fire people and demand that they be vaccinated.”
Gostin said this applies to a wide range of workplaces.
“Any private business, whether it’s a supermarket, a factory, or a white-collar office, has an interest in security,” he said. “They all have the absolute right to require vaccinations as a working condition there.
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Can a private company issue a vaccine mandate for its clients?
Yes, private companies can mandate vaccines for their customers as this is not considered to discriminate against a protected class.
WHAT WE KNOW
Our legal experts have said that private companies are legally allowed to require proof of vaccination for their clients.
“Yes, they can do it,” Gostin said. “It’s not illegal at all… You’ve seen it throughout the pandemic, and even before the pandemic – no shirt, no shoes, no mask, no service. They can add vaccines to it. that.”
A private company cannot discriminate against a service, targeting a protected class. But this does not apply to those who choose not to be vaccinated.
“The only limitation I have is that they can’t discriminate against you based on your race, gender, sexual orientation, or disability,” Gostin said. “But they can certainly establish reasonable security conditions for buyers.”
Our experts have said that this also applies to venues, such as concert halls.
“Just like – you know – I can scan you for weapons, or I can ban you from smoking, or even ban you from getting into drunk,” Gostin said. “You pose a risk to their other customers. You are literally exposing them to a fatal disease.”