As employers evaluate whether to establish a program for its workers mandating the Covid-19 vaccine in the workplace, they must first determine if a mandated program is needed based on its business model. If the answer is 'yes', then employers have to determine what that program looks like.
Companies should answer the following questions evaluating its 'need' for a mandatory program:
Does the Company have the ability to reduce or eliminate the virus' spread through other administrative means available?
Does the Company want to incur the additional legal and operational risks associated with a mandatory program?
If a mandatory program is determined as the way the Company wants to proceed, they should consider the following before implementing a mandatory program:
Reasonable Accommodation Exceptions: responding to requests for religious and/or ADA accommodations.
Accommodation Process: ensure that a process exists for responding to accommodation requests in a timely manner.
Equal Employment Opportunities: will a mandated program impact attracting or retaining talent.
Vaccination Program Logistics: is the program implemented company-wide or on a limited manner based on geography, infection rates, workplace functions and facility employee levels. Also, does the Company supply the vaccine at little or no cost to the employees.
Compliance Concerns: can compliance be maintained at each stage and not pose a legal risk to the Company.
Labor Relations: with a full/partial unionized workforce, is this issue subject to collective bargaining.
Workers Compensation: acknowledge employees potential claims of injury from receiving a vaccination in the workplace.
Employee Safety Concerns: Employee objections to the program and whether the objections are protected under either OSHA or, if made collectively, under the NLRA.
As you contemplate a mandatory program, reflect on what you need to protect your workers, your customers in order to conduct business. We can help you assess your needs.