On Dec. 16, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission updated its COVID-19 guidance, offering additional instruction as to whether and when an employer can require its employees to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine. This guidance comes days after the Food and Drug Administration approved the distribution of the first COVID-19 vaccine in the United States under an emergency use authorization. The new guidance is contained in additional questions and answers in the EEOC’s “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws.”
According to the new EEOC guidance, employers may put in place mandatory programs that require employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, subject to certain exceptions and other conditions to address accommodations for medical disabilities and religious beliefs.