COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements: Potential Constraints on Employer Mandates Under Federal Law [February 10, 2021] [open pdf - 749KB]
From the Document: "The COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] pandemic has forced unprecedented workplace changes and raised a host of legal issues. Employers may struggle with how to protect workers from infection, avoid disruptions that may result from sick leave and employee quarantines, and manage potential liability if an employee contracts the virus at work. Some have noted employers' plans to encourage or require COVID-19 vaccinations for workers as they become available. Policies will undoubtedly vary. Observers expect that health care, travel, and retail businesses will more likely mandate or encourage vaccines, while those with less customer interaction and more work-at-home capacity may defer to employee choice on whether to seek vaccination. [...] This Sidebar provides a general background, in light of recent EEOC [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] guidance and courts' prior adjudication of employer vaccine mandates, on federal antidiscrimination statutes (including the Americans with Disabilities Act [ADA] and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964) relevant to employers or lawmakers crafting vaccination requirements. In addition, the Sidebar briefly considers other laws that could constrain employer vaccine mandates, including the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). RFRA may limit some government employers' adoption of vaccine mandates and affect future legislation governing vaccine mandates, even legislation that would compel private employers to adopt vaccine mandates or require certain categories of employees to be vaccinated. Finally, the Sidebar concludes by identifying potential legislative options for Congress to clarify how these statutes apply in pandemic circumstances."
CRS Legal Sidebar, LSB10573
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/