The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission explained in newly updated guidance that such a requirement does not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, which forbids employers from performing medical examinations on employees.
A vaccine does not constitute a medical examination, the EEOC said, because the employer is “not seeking information about an individual’s impairments or current health status.” Employers may also choose to require documentation that an individual received a COVID-19 vaccine, the commission said, because it would not amount to a disability-related inquiry. Additional questioning about an individual’s medical history, however, must be handled with caution.
While the ADA generally shields people from having their employers inquire about their personal health, it does permit employers to ensure that any one employee “shall not pose a direct threat to the health or safety of individuals in the workplace.”