Can My Boss Fire Me If I Don’t Want the Vaccine?

Can My Boss Fire Me If I Don’t Want the Vaccine?

Scott Dylan Westerlund
Scott Dylan Westerlund
 | 
More than half of American adults have already received at least one COVID-19 vaccine. 

If you haven’t complied yet, then don’t feel like you’re alone. About 25% of Americans say that they will never get the vaccine. Individuals that opt not to get the vaccine have plenty of valid reasons for doing so, but they’ll likely have to overcome certain challenges if they hope to remain unvaccinated in the years to come.

While you have a right not to take the jab, employers have rights, too. So, can you get fired for refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine? Gain some insight on that question down below.

COVID-19 Vaccine and Employee Rights

If you would have asked businesses whether they could make their patrons wear maks two years ago, they would’ve been very confused by your question. They’d likely say that a business wouldn’t have the authority to do that. Yet, here we are in 2021 where businesses do have the authority to mandate masks.

As we head deeper into 2021, a new question has emerged – can employers mandate their employees to take the COVID-19 vaccination? The answer to that question remains unclear right now. It’s important to note, however, that both an employee and employer have certain rights. Those rights vary depending on what state you live in, though.

According to the CDC, employer vaccination mandates are a matter of state law. If an employer is authorized to mandate the vaccine, then they do have to allow the following exemptions:
  • Medical exemptions
  • Religious exemptions

The ADA Act also gives employees with disabilities an automatic exemption from taking the flu vaccine, so it’s likely that the same rule would carry over and apply to the COVID-19 vaccine, too.

If an employee refused to take the COVID-19 vaccine on religious grounds, then they are considered exempt under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Employers must respect the employee’s decision. Unless doing so would pose an undue hardship on the employer, then they’re required by law to provide a reasonable accommodation for the employee. In 2021, that likely means allowing the employee to continue working from home.

What If I Get Fired Over the COVID-19 Vaccine

So, can you get fired for refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine? In a nutshell, it depends. The main factors that will determine the answer are the state where you reside and your reasons for refusing the vaccine. If you refuse the vaccine on medical or religious grounds, then your employer can’t legally fire you unless they can’t provide a reasonable accommodation for you.

If you feel like you were unjustly terminated for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine, then it’s a good idea to speak with an attorney about your situation. Right now, there’s a lot of misinformation and confusion surrounding COVID-19, the vaccine, and whether or not employers can mandate the vaccine. So long as employees offer reasonable accommodations for those who refuse, they can mandate their employees to get the injection.

This topic is still under strict scrutiny, though. Several states are currently considering legislation that would prohibit employers from being able to mandate mass vaccination for employees. If your state passes such legislation, then that will remove your employer’s authority to force you to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

Other states may see a lack of a vaccination as a direct threat to other employees in the office. With that in mind, those states may favor an employer mandate. Those states will also likely be more in favor of employers making accommodations for individuals who refuse the vaccine.

What You Need to Know About Vaccines in 2021

It’s never been more important to stay up-to-date on the latest developments regarding the law. Due to the pandemic, everyone has questioned their rights and boundaries. No one wants to buck public safety, but it’s also reasonable to be concerned about the safety of this new vaccine, too.

If you have questions about your rights as an employee in your state, then we suggest reaching out to a lawyer in your area who can advise you on your legal rights. Head over to our lawyer search now to find an attorney who can help you make the best decision regarding your vaccine in 2021.


This article is intended to convey generally useful information only and does not constitute legal advice. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the author, not LawChamps.
 
Scott Dylan Westerlund

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