Throughout the pandemic, vaccine mandates have become more and more common. Recently, the Supreme Court decided not to listen to arguments brought by eight Indiana University students who felt the University’s vaccine mandate was unconstitutional and against the law. By choosing not to hear the student’s arguments, the Supreme Court was essentially affirming the appellate court’s ruling in favor of the University. Mandates are making their way to the private sector and governmental agencies. For example, the Pentagon is now requiring the vaccine for all service members.
This leads to the main question that a lot of employers and unvaccinated individuals face – can an employer place these mandates on employees or is it an infringement of rights?
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act states that it is unconstitutional “to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” From this, it is clear that employers can use mandates as long as it does not violate a protected class. Employers use mandates all of the time, such as no guns at the workplace or certain dress code requirements.
What about a qualified disability? The Americans with Disabilities Act states it is unlawful for an employer “discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.”
So what does that mean for the employee? Unless you have a qualifying religious exemption or a disability that prohibits you from getting vaccinated, your employer CAN fire you if you are NOT vaccinated. Got to cramer-law.com to learn more.