Current COVID-19 vaccines have not undergone the process for full FDA approval, but have been authorized under a streamlined process known as an emergency use authorization. Because of this, the vaccines are technically considered experimental and are subject to regulations that may affect whether employers are permitted to mandate their use by employees.
Under certain circumstances, employers are permitted to mandate their employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of their employment. That position was outlined by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in guidance published in December 2020. However, this guidance is not without its limits.
As the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines continues, healthcare employers face complicated questions about what they can require of employees, how to handle employees who refuse the vaccine, and other potential legal consequences that may result in the coming months.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put healthcare workers in the spotlight, highlighting their heroism in the face of disease, severe illness, and death. Case managers are among the unsung heroes of the crisis, as they work to keep patients safe during transitions — sometimes in the face of daunting challenges.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) stated it will prioritize investigations of complaints, referrals, fatalities, and hospitalizations related to the COVID-19 pandemic. That means risk managers should prepare to respond effectively to employee complaints or OSHA queries.
The Affordable Care Act mandated that employers provide contraceptive coverage to workers at no cost. In July, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed a Trump administration regulation to let employers with religious or moral objections opt out of the mandate.