If my employer mandates the COVID-19 vaccine, what are my options?

Coronavirus

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – While more and more employers begin to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for employees, there are some exemptions.

“One point that is important to note is that employers have an affirmative obligation to provide essentially a safe working environment for their employees,” said Steven Corriveau, attorney at Martin & Jones, LLC. in Raleigh.

Corriveau tells CBS17 that could mean requiring the COVID-19 vaccine, COVID testing, or asking employees if they have received the vaccine.

“We’ve heard from individuals who have concerns about employers requiring the vaccine, requesting information about their vaccination status,” he said. “It’s something I think a lot of people are concerned about right now.”

But in order to have a case against the company or agency you work for, Corriveau says you need a legitimate, concrete reason for not getting the vaccine.

He explained, “Under the American Disabilities Act and Title 7, if people have a disability or a sincerely held religious belief that has been violated, or reasonable accommodations haven’t been made, then it wouldn’t cause an undue hardship on the employer, then they have recourse available to them.”

Recourse usually starts with filing a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Corriveau says the sooner, the better.

“The timelines for beginning one of these charges are often much more limited than they would be in normal civil litigation,” he said.

“It the EEOC is able to work something out with your employer, if they’re able to reach some sort of accommodation, it could be quite short. If a right to sue letter is issued and a civil lawsuit is filed, that could take years to go through the system.”

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