12.18.20 – KOCO – OKLAHOMA CITY
Can your employer require you to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Many people are asking the question.
“In Oklahoma, the short answer is yes,” attorney James Biscone of the Biscone Law Firm said.
Biscone said Oklahoma is still in the early stages of vaccine administration. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has not yet issued a rule making it mandatory.
“However employers can require certain health measures, as long as they apply equally to all their employees and they allow certain exceptions, as required under the Americans Disabilities Act,” Biscone said.
He said employers can require proof that employees received the vaccine shots.
“The EEOC allows companies to require their employees to be vaccinated for the flu. If they have that policy in place,” he said.
But, he said, those who don’t want to take the vaccine for medical or religious reasons have liberty, too. But Oklahoma is a Right to Work state, which limits employees’ rights.
“Employers can terminate the employee for no reason at all. So … if an employer comes to the employee and I say look it’s mandatory that you get the vaccine. Well, the employee can always say no, they’re probably just going to lose their job,” he said. “Polio, hepatitis, tetanus, measles, chickenpox, smallpox, you know, we’ve been requiring vaccines, to some extent, for generations.”
This isn’t something new, he said.
“This isn’t really uncharted territory. This is just the 2020 version and COVID has really been at the forefront,” he said.
Biscone said each case should be looked at individually, and it’s best to contact an attorney to know your rights.