Can Employers Require Vaccination Before Hiring New Employees?

As more employees return to the workplace, employers want to know whether they can require new hires to receive the COVID-19 vaccine before their first day of employment. The answer is yes. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has instructed that “federal EEO laws do not prevent an employer from requiring all employees entering the workplace to be vaccinated for COVID-19.”

Employers should be transparent and let applicants know at the earliest time possible during the hiring process. This requirement should also be included in the job description. Upon receiving proof of vaccination, and if the employer decides to keep a record of vaccination proof, ensure to treat the vaccination record as a confidential medical record.

Should an employer require new hires to receive the vaccine, it should remember that a mandatory vaccination policy must be “job-related and consistent with business necessity.” Further, a vaccination requirement may also lead to an accommodation request(s). Ensure that the company does not automatically exclude a new hire who cannot be vaccinated as the company is required to consider accommodations for religious- and disability-related reasons.

Please contact Employers Council for any questions you have. We will continue to update you on any changes.