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COVID-19 Vaccine and the Workplace

In Episode 110 of The Workplace podcast, CalChamber Executive Vice President and General Counsel Erika Frank and employment law expert Jennifer Shaw discuss what employers should consider before requiring workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Note: This podcast was recorded on March 9, 2021. Listeners should be aware that given the unpredictability of the COVID-19 pandemic, information shared on this podcast episode may change at any time.

As COVID-19 vaccines are becoming more widely available, many employers are considering what role they should play, Frank says, and whether they should be just an informational source or actively encourage getting the vaccine. 

New Guidance Issued

Employers recently received some clarity on March 4 through the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). The agency published guidance on COVID-19 vaccinations and made it clear that employers can mandate that employees take the COVID-19 vaccine, Shaw explains. So the questions that employers should ask themselves are:

  • Does it make sense to establish a mandate for your organization since you will also have to be responsible for providing reasonable accommodations for workers who cannot take the vaccine due to a religious reason or medical condition?
  • Should you encourage vaccinations and offer incentives without running afoul of other laws?

Frank encourages all employers to visit the DFEH COVID-19 resource page and download the COVID-19 employment guidance. Written in an FAQ format, it answers many of the questions that employers are currently asking.

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