Skip to Content

DIGGING DEEPER: Can Your Employer Require You to get the COVID-19 Vaccine?

Remaining Ad Time Ad - 00:00

TUCSON (KVOA) - It may not be a question of if you want to get the COVID-19 vaccine but instead if you want to keep your job. 

News 4 Tucson spoke with local employment lawyers who said in general, employers can require employees to get the vaccine.  

"They can require them to get a vaccine to return to work safely," Troy Foster, an attorney with The Foster Group said. 

But it's complicated; private employers will have an easier time requiring vaccinations. Whereas government employers are bound by constitutional constraints. That's according to University of Arizona law professor, Toni Massaro, who said efficacy, availability, cost, and side effects will all determine if a vaccine mandate is legal. 

If a mandate is rolled out, there are exceptions. 

"Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, if someone has a disability, they may be exempt from taking the vaccine,” Tim Medcoff, an attorney with Farhang and Medcoff said. 

Even then, your boss can ask for proof of the need for exemption from your doctor.  

“They can require accommodations for religious exemptions in the workplace but those exemptions have to be based upon a sincerely held religious belief,” Ed Moomjian, an attorney with Moonmjian Law Firm said. 

Once you handover proof, Troy Foster, a local lawyer said, your employer should ask, “Hey, what can we do to help you work here while not getting the vaccine?" 

Then your employer can make accommodations, like working from home or less realistic options, like a long-term, unpaid leave of absence. 

Each situation would be handled on a case-by-case basis but any vaccine policy must be evenly enforced. 

"If you mandate that all of your employees have to get vaccinated, you may have a bunch of people walk off the job,” Medcoff said. 

On the flip side, if employers don't require it, Foster said, "employees may come back around and say hey, that was an unsafe work condition that you put me in because your policy didn't require vaccines..." 

Author Profile Photo

Alexis Berdine

Alexis Berdine is an Investigative Multi-Media Journalist at KVOA.

Skip to content