Employers and COVID-19 Vaccinated Employees
Employers are asking whether COVID-19 infection prevention measures should continue or can be revised for vaccinated employees, but employers need to be sure their policies do not violate privacy and anti-discrimination requirements.
- Impact on Workers: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are advising workplaces to not change masking and social distancing practices for vaccinated workers. Researchers are still not certain how well vaccinations prevent inoculated workers from spreading the virus and the effectiveness of vaccines against new Covid-19 variants.
- Quarantine Revision: One change approved by the CDC for vaccinated workers is eliminating the quarantine recommendation. Workers potentially exposed to the virus have been told isolate themselves for up to 14 days. Fully vaccinated workers do not have to quarantine if they are not showing symptoms, it has been at least two weeks since the last dose, and less than three months have passed since the last dose.
- Privacy Worries: Employers who decide to identify vaccinated workers by having them wear identification badges or other markings, will be going against federal medical privacy regulations. Employers who know a worker’s vaccination status should not share the information with supervisors or co-workers.
- Vaccine Bias: Employers must be careful not to base job assignments and shifts based on a worker’s vaccination status. Banning a worker could lead to a state or federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission discrimination complaint.