With all the attention a small outbreak of measles in the U.S. has caused, a number of employers are asking if they’re permitted by law to require their employees to be fully vaccinated.
It’s an excellent legal question.
The short answer is maybe. It really depends on the business you’re in. If you’re an educational or healthcare institution (i.e., hospital, health clinic, nursing home, etc.) – you may require vaccination so long as you grant exemptions for health or religious reasons.
What about employers in other industries?
In these instances, you may not mandate immunizations, but you can encourage them.
On the matter of exemptions – Connecticut employers who are legally permitted to require vaccinations must provide a reasonable accommodation for employees who claim a religious or medical exemption (and at least one Federal court has ruled that even veganism is a legitimate reason to claim an exemption) from vaccination. An educational or healthcare employer does not have to accommodate an employee who objects to a vaccine on mere philosophical grounds but doesn’t have an ADA disability or religious objection.
On a side note, do disease protection tactics like the flu vaccine provide the level of protection often advertised?
Here’s how well the flu vaccine protected U.S. citizens this past year (2018-19):
- According to interim estimates, the overall adjusted effectiveness of the 2018-19 flu vaccine against all influenza virus infection associated with acute respiratory illness (ARI) was 29 percent.
- Among adults over 50, the vaccine had a 24 percent effectiveness against all influenza types, and an abysmal 8 percent against influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 infection, which was by far the most common type.
It’s worth noting that year-to-year, the effectiveness of flu vaccines varies – and is typically below 50%.[i]
If you’re an employer and have questions about labor and employment law – including your rights with respect to mandating vaccinations, consider calling on the attorneys at Kainen, Escalera & McHale in Connecticut. We do one thing and one thing only – we are an employer defense law firm – in fact, we are one of the largest employer defense law firms in the region. What’s more, each of our attorneys have over 20 years of experience in employment law and labor law matters and can provide your business with comprehensive legal counsel ranging from assistance with necessary preventive measures to trial advocacy. Please contact us if we can help you.
The information provided above is made available by Kainen, Escalera & McHale, P.C. for educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide specific legal advice to your individual circumstances or legal questions. You acknowledge that neither your reading of, nor posting on, this site establishes an attorney-client relationship between you and our law firm or any of the attorneys in our firm. This information should not be used as a substitute for seeking competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state nor is it provided for the specific purpose of soliciting your business on any particular matter. Readers of this information should not act upon anything communicated in it without seeking professional counsel.
[i] Past Seasons Vaccine Effectiveness Estimates, CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/vaccines-work/past-seasons-estimates.html