Issues and Factors for Employers Verifying Employee Vaccination Status
Kristen Gallagher, Chair of the Employment & Labor Law Practice Group at McDonald Carano, shared her insights and advice in a Law360 article titled “Verifying Vaccination Status: What Employers Need To Know.” The article addresses important considerations for employers as they try to manage partially vaccinated workforces. Figuring out which employees are vaccinated is a process that is filled with legal, procedural and policy challenges.
The five topics covered in the article include:
- Asking About Vaccine Status Isn’t for the Untrained
- Handle Documentation with Care
- CDC Cards Aren’t the Only Proof
- High Risk of Workplace Bullying
- State Vaccine Passport Laws Vary Wildly
As Kristen explained, there may be different ways to confirm that someone has received a vaccine other than the CDC-branded card and employers should be prepared for employees to present those types of records. For example, they could include records from a state or local health authority, documents or emails from a pharmacy that administers vaccines, or vaccination records from a doctor. It is important to note that if employees inadvertently provide too much documentation, such as medical information that employers should not have, employers should return it or ask employees for a new copy. “As long as an employer has been express about, ‘We don’t want that information,’ I think you simply notify the employee of the information and perhaps either return it or ask for a redacted version so that you have what you need, but you don’t have more than what you asked for,” Kristen said.
Kristen also pointed out that employers who operate in multiple jurisdictions face a patchwork of requirements as states take varying positions on vaccine verification. “That’s always a complication when you have workplaces and work sites in various areas — you have to have information about what’s OK in one state or another. “I think it’s just a matter of really being eyes-open to the fact that this is a jurisdictional development, and even at a local basis employers need to have people helping them in those locations to make sure that they are being consistent and not running afoul of any local or state law.”
The full article in Law360 can be found here (subscription required).
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