Can employers implement a mandatory vaccination program?

According to both the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), employers can implement a mandatory vaccination program for their employees as part of the employer’s health and safety program to combat COVID-19 in the workplace. Neither the EEOC nor the DFEH provide an opinion as to whether an employer should mandate vaccines, but they do provide guidance should an employer choose to do so.

At the time of publication, however, vaccine supply still limits vaccine availability, potentially creating an issue with a mandatory vaccination program until supply and infrastructure can meet the demand.

Once supply and infrastructure meet the demand, employers still must be aware of other major issues associated with a mandatory vaccination program, such as employee objections based upon disability or religious concerns.

Read Must an employer exempt an employee from a mandatory vaccination program for disability- or religious-related concerns? for more information.

Read more about Religious Discrimination and Reasonable Accommodation of Disabilities in the HR Library.