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Can I Sue My Employer For Mandatory COVID Vaccine? California Employment Law

Updated: Nov 9, 2022

Important FAQs About Workplace Mandatory Vaccinations In California

COVID-19 isn't over. That said, typical issues surrounding COVID restrictions, policies, and legalities are still popular issues. These issues include discussions of how employment and employee rights are affected.


One of the many issues is vaccinations. Can they be made mandatory? Can your boss fire you for not getting vaccinated? Can you refuse to work with unvaccinated co-workers?


Let's talk about COVID vaccinations, mandatory vaccination policies, and employee rights, as a prescreened California Employment Attorney often handles them:


California has one of the most comprehensive employment laws. However, COVID-19 is a more complicated situation, as it is a global pandemic. This means that the safety of the community is considered the first priority.


Here are a few relevant FAQs that might affect employees:


1. Can My Employer Impose A Mandatory Vaccine Policy?


Yes. Private companies have the right to impose these policies as an employment requirement.


While it's illegal for your boss to stick a needle in your arm, no laws prohibit them from firing you should you refuse to follow mandatory vaccination policies.


2. Can I Be Fired For Refusing To Follow Mandatory Vaccination Policies?


Yes. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has clarified that employers can require COVID-19 vaccination for workers returning to the workplace.

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3. Are The Exemptions From Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Policies?


Yes. You have the right to refuse mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for a.) religious reasons or b.) medical reasons.


The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) confirmed that requiring COVID-19 vaccination would not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act on its own (ADA).


Employers are prohibited from conducting medical examinations under this regulation, but requesting vaccination cards and certificates aren't considered violations.


4. Can I Sue My Employer For Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Policies?


You can. No policy or law stops you from doing so. However, you must remember that the federal government supports mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies. Unless you qualify for the exemptions, your employer is within their right to fire employees who refuse to comply.


However, you might have a potential case if you qualify for medical or religious exemptions. When this is the case, make sure to consult with a California Employment Attorney to guide you with a possible employment case.

5. Can My Employer Require Me To Show My Vaccination Card?


Yes. Usually, employers cannot force you to give up medical records unless it is imperative to the nature of your work (i.e., pilots).


However, vaccination cards and certificates aren't covered in this. So, your employer can request that you show them your certificate or require that you show or submit it. This also applies to workplaces that require you to show your vaccination card to get into the office or worksite.


6. Can I Refuse To Work With Unvaccinated Co-Workers?


No. Much like your employer has the right to impose a mandatory vaccination policy, it is also within their rights not to.


While you can't refuse to work with unvaccinated employees, you could privately work out accommodations with your boss. For example, you can request to work remotely when COVID cases are rising. However, this is an arrangement you'll have to make with your employer, and there is no guarantee that you'll be allowed or granted these considerations.

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7. Can I Take A COVID Leave In California?


If there are any COVID-related problems at work (i.e., you contracted COVID, there's an outbreak at the office, etc.), it might be a viable reason to take a paid leave.


Other leave options may be available if an employee does not qualify for paid sick leave or has exhausted sick leave. For example, if a vacation or paid time off policy exists, an employee may opt to take either one and be paid if conditions allow for such leave.


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