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The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released a press release on May 28th regarding new guidelines for workers and employers regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. The press release is summarized below and edited for brevity.

The press release

On May 28th the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) posted updated guidelines regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines. 

“The updated technical assistance released today addresses frequently asked questions concerning vaccinations in the employment context,” said EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows on the 28th.  “The EEOC will continue to clarify and update our COVID-19 technical assistance to ensure that we are providing the public with clear, easy to understand, and helpful information.” 

The key updates to the technical assistance are summarized below:

  • Federal EEO laws do not prevent an employer from requiring all employees physically entering the workplace to be vaccinated for COVID-19, so long as employers comply with the reasonable accommodation provisions of the ADA and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other EEO considerations.  
  • Federal EEO laws do not prevent or limit employers from offering incentives to employees to voluntarily provide documentation or other confirmation of vaccination obtained from a third party (not the employer) in the community, such as a pharmacy, personal health care provider, or public clinic. Employers must keep vaccination records confidential.
  • Employers that are administering vaccines to their employees may offer incentives for employees to be vaccinated, as long as the incentives are not coercive.
  • Employers may provide employees and their family members with information to educate them about COVID-19 vaccines and raise awareness about the benefits of vaccination.

The new resource for job applicants and employees provides basic information about how federal employment discrimination laws helps workers in the current age. These publications follow an earlier hearing on the impact of the pandemic on civil rights. The EEOC will consider editing and updates as new developments occur. 

The new resource explains how federal anti-discrimination laws protect applicants and workers, and details the rights and responsibilities of both workers and employers. 

But what does this all mean?

Basically, you’re allowed to require and incentivize your employees returning to work to be vaccinated. Incentives can include but are not limited to cash prizes and lotteries as seen on the state level. You can have employees voluntarily provide proof of vaccination to be enrolled as long as their records are kept confidential. You could also provide a vaccination yourself but that prize can’t be coercively large.

Linked here is the press release in full detail

Stay tuned to the Employment Screening Services blog for news and information regarding background checks, screening and drug testing for employment. We have worked hard throughout the pandemic to keep providing the quality customer service to help keep your business in compliance, and your reputation safe.