Reno attorneys, HR experts weigh in on concept of mandatory COVID vaccine for companies, employees

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Northern Nevada Business Weekly, December 28, 2020, by Kaleb Roedel, for Northern Nevada business owners looking to bring employees back to work and bring customers peace of mind, there’s light at the end of the pandemic tunnel: two COVID-19 vaccines have been found effective and are approved for distribution.

What’s more, the federal government has given employers the green light to mandate workers get a vaccine and bar them from the workplace if they refuse.

The guidance, issued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on Dec. 16, confirmed what employment lawyers in the region had expected.

“I think the agencies are going to say, ‘yes, anything that we can do to stop COVID-19 is something that we want to support,’” Shannon Pierce, a labor and employment attorney at Fennemore Craig in Reno, said in a video interview with the NNBW. “Add to that, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) requires all employers — even when we’re not in a pandemic — provide a workplace that is free from recognized hazards and harms.

“The only real way that we can do that is to provide a vaccine to the employees.”

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