Hallelujah! EEOC announces it will provide guidance on COVID-19 vaccine incentives

Hallelujah! EEOC announces it will provide guidance on COVID-19 vaccine incentives

Just how much can an employer insist that its employees obtain the COVID-19 vaccine? One would think this would be an easy choice, right? Well, not so fast.

Large segments of the U.S. population, for multiple reasons, have not and will not obtain the COVID-19 vaccine. Some companies have been providing incentives such as cash bonuses and paid time off to employees who do not wait to vaccinate, so to say.

At long last, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced last week it will address the legal areas of employers offering vaccination incentives. For several months since vaccinations began in the U.S., employers from across the nation have requested legal assistance.

“The agency expects to update its technical assistance about COVID-19 to address these issues, among others,” said Carol Miaskoff, the EEOC’s legal counsel, in a letter addressed to employer groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The EEOC has not yet provided a clue as to whether COVID-19 vaccine incentives could possibly violate federal anti-bias laws.

In a February 1 letter, employer groups including the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, the Family Business Coalition, the Society for Human Resource Management and about 40 others asked the EEOC for any agency guidance in order to “define what qualifies as a permissible incentive.”

Such legal uncertainty about vaccine incentives has many employers concerned over liability issues, making them hesitant to decide on the proper course of action when inspiring their employees to roll up their sleeves and take the shot.

Here at GroupOne Background Screening, we shall not-so-patiently await the EEOC recommendations and blog accordingly.

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