In a recent article for Restaurant Startup & Growth, Alisa Cleek discusses whether restaurant operators can legally mandate their employees to take the COVID-19 vaccine, and if they can, whether they should. She also addresses concerns about how to respond when an employee refuses to take a mandated vaccine or, alternatively, what to do when a group of employees refuses to work with an employee who has not taken the vaccine.
The American with Disabilities Act prohibits employers from conducting certain medical examinations. On December 16, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued guidance confirming that neither the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine nor requiring an employee to show proof of the vaccine constitute a medical examination prohibited by the ADA.
"While the EEOC did not say that mandating the vaccine is lawful, it addressed how employers should go about implementing a policy mandating vaccines, as well as considerations they need to include in the policy," said Cleek.
"Regardless of whether an operator chooses to mandate or strongly encourage the vaccine, both options involve concerns and risks of potential backlash," explained Cleek, adding that "operators need to decide which is best for their operations and the health and safety of their employees and customers, and then take proper steps to implement their decision to minimize any risk associated with their choice."
The full article can be found on pages 40 - 44, in the February issue of Restaurant Startup & Growth here.