Healthcare Risk Management: Allison Averbuch on Employer Considerations Behind Mandating COVID-19 Vaccines
In an article published by Healthcare Risk Management on July 27, 2021, Associate Allison Averbuch is quoted discussing considerations for employers deciding whether to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for employees.
While recent Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidance offers firm legal ground for employers to require employees to be vaccinated, several additional factors must be considered. The recent ruling in Texas, which “dismissed a lawsuit filed by employees of Houston Methodist Hospital challenging the hospital’s mandate that all employees receive the COVID-19 vaccine,” has proven influential in shaping policies across the country.
“The court rejected the plaintiffs’ politicized argument that the mandate required employees ‘to serve as human guinea pigs’ to increase hospital profits,” Allison says. “The dismissal also gives teeth to the EEOC’s recent guidance paving the way for employer-mandated COVID-19 vaccines under federal discrimination laws.”
Employers planning to implement COVD-19 vaccine mandates must “balance the risk of losing workers with the need to operate a safe workplace.”
“In the case of Houston Methodist, the hospital decided that the health and safety of its patients necessitated the vaccine mandate for its staff, and the court agreed that the hospital was entitled to do so. Houston Methodist told employees they had to be vaccinated by June 7, 2021, or face suspension,” Allison explains. “The hospital ultimately suspended almost 200 employees for failing to meet the vaccination deadline. [A hospital spokesperson] noted that of those almost 200 employees, 153 resigned during the suspension period or were terminated on June 22, 2021. The spokesperson also said that if suspended employees complied with the vaccination policy during their suspension, they were permitted to return to work.”
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