Can you be fired if you are unvaccinated?

THE CORONAVIRUS pandemic is still in full effect despite lightened mandates.

As the delta variant sweeps through the nation causing a prolonged pandemic, employees have started to wonder if companies can legally require vaccinations.

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As Covid-19 cases start to rise, many companies are cracking down and requiring employees to get vaccinated or risk termination[/caption]

Can you be fired if you are unvaccinated?

The simple answer is yes, bosses can fire you if you refuse to get the Covid-19 vaccine.

“Under the law, an employer can force an employee to get vaccinated, and if they don’t take it, fire them,” Dallas labor and employment attorney Rogge Dunn said.

Some companies have even started to give their employees a deadline of when they have to be fully vaccinated by.

Texas, Baylor Scott & White, one of the largest healthcare systems in Texas, said that their employee have until October 1, 2021 to get the jab.

“With rapidly rising COVID-19 case counts due to the highly contagious Delta variant and the start of the flu season fast approaching, we believe now is the right time to take the next step in achieving a fully vaccinated workforce,” the company said in a press release.

“The Delta variant is the most contagious and dangerous strain we have seen to date, leading to exponentially increasing rates of severe illness and hospitalization. The overwhelming majority of these cases are among the unvaccinated.”

James Poindexter, an Employment Attorney also added in to First Coast News that citing HIPAA will also not save an employee from being fired.

“HIPAA does not protect you from your employer asking about your vaccination status and you do not have any recourse to sue your employer should they ask you about that,” Poindexter said.

He then went on to add that an employee does have the right to not reveal their vaccination status but it comes at their own risk.

“Employers can certainly put in place a vaccine policy mandating all employees be vaccinated,” Poindexter added.

If I get fired for not getting vaccinate will I qualify for unemployment?

As more companies require vaccinations, many have started to quit and for those who were terminated have found that they may not qualify for the unemployment benefits they were hoping for.

One of the qualifications of unemployment is that you lose a job at no fault of your own, an example would be if a company had downsized.

By refusing to get vaccinated, an employee would then be refusing a companywide policy which could be considered misconduct and as a result, disqualify them from unemployment benefits.

“Misconduct is defined in the unemployment statute as pretty serious wrongdoing. It’s not just carelessness, it’s not just negligence, it’s not just poor performance. It has to be pretty serious and it has to be intentional,” Duluth attorney Joe Roby Jr., told WDIO.

“Healthcare providers, for decades have required employees get tested for TB to work at a hospital,” Roby Jr. continued. “So, let’s say you’ve already been hired, but then you refuse to get tested. You would probably lose your job.”

There are however, two exemptions that may still give people the ability to claim unemployment following a termination for not getting vaccinated.

Those exemptions are for religious and medical reasons.

Roby added in that a medical exemption will most likely be more common as religious purposes are hard to prove and a medical one only requires notice from your doctor.

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Those who refuse to get vaccinated also risk not qualifying for unemployment benefits[/caption]

Can businesses require customers to be vaccinated?

Companies requiring vaccinations is just as legal as businesses requiring customers to be vaccinated.

Shake Shack founded Danny Meyer has been one of the first to publicly say that staff and customers must be fully vaccinated to enjoy the food.

“This is the most logical thing I’ve ever seen,” Meyer told CNBC.

“I’m not a scientist, but I know how to read data and what I see is that this is a crisis of people who have not been vaccinated, and I feel strong responsibility, on our part as business leaders, to take care of our team and our guests, and that’s what we’re doing.”

More businesses are expected to follow in Meyer’s footsteps as the rise in Covid-19 cases has come from those who are unvaccinated.



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