MACON, Ga. — As more Americans become fully-vaccinated, some are wondering if an employer can require you to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
According to lawyer Ken Barton and Mercer Law Professor Dave Oedel, the short answer is yes -- but it's not that simple.
"Yes, I think employers may require their employees to take the vaccine provided that they have a job-related reason to require the employees to do that," said Barton.
"Employers may have that power to require it in some circumstances, but probably you're well advised not to do so unless they really have a good reason for doing so and invading their privacy rights of their employees," said Oedel.
There are some important things to remember.
"If an employee has a certain medical reason that a certain disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act that prevents them from being able to take the vaccine, then the employer would need to consider an accommodation, some some change to their policies that would allow the employee to continue working without necessarily having to take the vaccine," said Barton.
"And the same thing would be true if an employee had a sincerely held religious belief, the employer should consider an accommodation to the rule."
Currently, all three vaccines are under Emergency Use Authorization. According to the Food and Drug Administration EUA guidance "the recipient has the right to accept or refuse."
"Under their emergency use situations, they haven't been fully vetted by the FDA, and the CDC yet and then finally approved for all uses, and so some people have said that they don't have to, they're not really finally approved as we don't really have total data yet to understand how safe they are," said Oedel.
"There is some argument that an employer requiring their employees to get a vaccine under emergency use authorization could be a prohibition of that law, but that's not something that has been determined by courts," said Barton.
So we can verify that yes an employer could require the COVID-19 vaccine --but legal experts say employers should think carefully to avoid violating individuals rights and privacy.