The Delta variant of the COVID virus has contributed to increasing infection rates, hospitalizations, and deaths for several weeks running. In response to increasing numbers across the country, a number of public employers, including the City of San Francisco, New York City, the State of California, and the Department of Veterans Affairs, have mandated that their employees become vaccinated. On July 29, President Biden announced his intention to require all federal workers to be vaccinated or they would have to wear a mask and be subject to frequent testing.
The President also indicated he would seek similar requirements for employees of federal contractors. While the City of San Francisco’s mandate will only take effect once a COVID vaccine receives full authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, the VA will be requiring employees to be vaccinated in the next two months. New York and California are providing employees with the option of wearing a mask and receiving testing at least once a week if employees choose not to be vaccinated in the coming weeks. Undoubtedly, these employers will allow for reasonable accommodation that complies with requirements under the ADA, Title VII, and for pregnant employees.
Prior to now, the majority of employers have elected against mandating vaccines; however, if cases continue to rise, and as health officials provide updated recommendations, many employers may begin to revisit the subject. Visit us here and here to read more about employer vaccine mandates and how they have been considered by courts up to this point.
In addition to considering these issues, employers should stay aware of local public health orders that are being issued which may impact their operations. For example, in July 2021 both St. Louis County and St. Louis City re-issued mask mandates requiring both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals over the age of 5 to wear masks in indoor public settings.
The St. Louis employment attorneys at McMahon Berger have been representing employers across the country in labor and employment matters for over sixty years and are available to discuss these issues and others. As always, the foregoing is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice regarding any particular situation as every situation must be evaluated on its own facts. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements.