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COVID-19 Workplace FAQ

As an employer, can I require my employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes, you can. As an employer, you can mandate that your employees receive the COVID-19 vaccine before returning to work on site. However, if one of your employees objects because of the possibility of interactions with a disability, their strongly held religious or ethical beliefs or because the employee is pregnant, you may be required to engage in an interactive process to determine whether reasonable accommodations are available (such as telework).

The accommodation requirements for disability and religious or ethical beliefs are very different, but unless your employee's failure to vaccinate poses a direct threat to others, an accommodation may be required.

It's important to note that employers should be cautious when enforcing vaccine mandates, since enforcement may result in the employer receiving medical information related to a disability. If such information is received, the law requires that employers maintain those records separately from any personnel records related to job performance. Find more information on reasonable accommodations.

Can my employer require me to prove I'm vaccinated?

Yes, they can. An employer can ask an employee if they've been vaccinated. However, an employee has the right to refuse the vaccination for a few different reasons. These include possible interactions with a disability, strongly held religious or ethical beliefs against the vaccine and pregnancy. If any of these conditions apply, the employee has the right to refuse the vaccination and possibly request a reasonable accommodation. Find more information on reasonable accommodations.

Can I receive unemployment insurance benefits if I quit my job to avoid complying with my employer's vaccine requirements or if I am fired for refusing to comply with my employer's vaccine requirements?

The answer depends on the circumstances of the separation. The facts of each unemployment insurance claim will determine whether benefits are payable. The one thing that is certain is that if there is a separation the case of the separation must be investigated on the claim. Generally, if a person quits a job, the presumption is benefits are not payable unless an exception outlined in state law applies.

Also, individuals are denied benefits until six times their weekly benefit is earned in covered employment. If an individual is aware of a condition to maintain employment (such as complying with a vaccine requirement) and fails to take action to maintain their employment, they may not be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. All factors related to the employee's separation will be considered in determining eligibility, including whether the person is unable to receive the vaccine for medical or religious beliefs. Find more information on unemployment benefits.