On December 16, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission updated its ongoing COVID-19 technical assistance guidance with nine (9) new questions-and-answers dealing specifically with COVID-19 vaccinations. Although EEOC guidance does not have the full force and effect of law, it is nevertheless very important for employers to be aware of the Commission’s enforcement priorities as they relate to the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), the Genetic Information Discrimination Act (“GINA”) and other federal civil rights laws.
The EEOC guidance follows the highly publicized vaccination of Sandra Lindsay, a critical care nurse who, on December 14th, became the first person in the United States to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccination process is now under way, with initial focus on healthcare personnel, workers in essential and critical industries, people at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness due to underlying medical conditions and people 65 years and older.
The following issues are implicated by the availability of COVID-19 vaccines:
Recognizing the time-sensitivity and liability concerns surrounding employer oversight of COVID-19 vaccines, Smith & Downey sponsored a webinar addressing best practices for dealing with vaccinations and other COVID-19-related workplace concerns.