Can companies force employees to take the COVID-19 vaccine?

Tuesday, December 8, 2020
Answers to COVID vaccine legal questions
Dan Abrams goes over legal questions regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.

DALLAS, Texas -- The race to a COVID-19 vaccine is both part solution and potential dilemma for those opposed to immunizations because according to the law, employers can require it.

"Unless you have a disability or sincerely held religious beliefs, the employer can force you to take it," says Rogge Dunn, a Dallas labor and employment attorney. "And if you don't take it, they can fire you."

Dunn told station KTVT in Dallas that the law is clear, and yet acknowledges that the controversy surrounding vaccinations will create a challenge for employers.

"I think there's going to be a tension between those who say everybody, all employees should be vaccinated, and other employees say this is a freedom of choice issue," says Dunn. "I think you're going to see employees lose their jobs over this. If they don't take the vaccine."

Dunn says he is already fielding questions about the issue and believes that many employers will require a COVID-19 vaccine once they become available to protect workers and customers.

Still, he says he is also advising clients to find "win-win" solutions when possible.

Perhaps an employee hesitant about taking a vaccine could work remotely, he suggests.

And he also expects some savvy businesses to use a required vaccine policy as a marketing tool.

"All of our employees have been vaccinated. So when you come to do business with us. You don't have to worry about getting it from one of our employees," explains Dunn. "I think that's a good selling point. And that's one reason I think employers may well require it."

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