Can your employer require you to get a Covid-19 vaccine?

MEDFORD, Ore. — Getting a Covid-19 vaccine is a hot button topic and many people have different opinions.

In your workplace, however, your employer can require it.

“The employer has a business that has to be run and there’s other people’s lives at stake,” said Tom Petersen, ‘Black Chapman Petersen & Stevens’ law firm.

Petersen says in Oregon, there are religious and medical exemptions for vaccines.

He says your employer has to accommodate those exemptions, if possible.

“If it’s not possible then termination would probably be legal,” said Petersen.

Although Peterson says the vaccine can be required legally, CEO of ‘Sowles Consulting’ Tonya Sowles says there are other things to consider.

“When you have a workplace, those divergent views can create a lot of employee tension, a lot of employee unrest,” Sowles said.

For that reason, she believes an employer recommending the vaccine is best.

“You want to make it clear that you want to look out for the health of your employees, your work place and your customers, but you also understand that there’s a lot of things impacting [their] decision,” said Sowles.

Whatever an employer decides, both Petersen and Sowles agree, it’s a decision that’s fast approaching.

“Talking to your employer would probably be a good idea if you haven’t already, so that it can be a process rather than a simple dictate,” said Petersen.

The Oregon Health Authority says philosophical exemptions only apply to kindergarten to 12th grade students and college students.

Click here for more information about exemptions.

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