Q&A From CFMA's Webinar "Recent OSHA & DOL COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements Explained"

The following are the questions that were answered during CFMA’s webinar, “Recent OSHA & DOL COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements Explained,” held on October 6, 2021. The answers were provided by Heidi Nunn-Gilman, an attorney with Gammage & Burnham and colleague of presenter Julie Pace, an attorney with the same law firm. 

 

Don’t you think that the easiest way to accommodate religious exemptions to vaccination would be to require weekly testing? This way, no one is asking employees to put anything in their bodies besides a cotton swab.

It is likely that the easiest accommodation for religious exemptions is the weekly testing. Given that this is an option in President Biden’s plan, many commentators view this as what the administration supports as a reasonable accommodation.

 

If someone has an ADA or religious reason not to get the vaccine, what kind of proof do they need to supply?

Employers have discretion in the proof to require for exemptions. Under the ADA, a company can, but is not required to, ask for documentation from a health care provider that the employee has a disability that prevents them from obtaining vaccination. For the religious exemption, it is more personal and may be specific to the individual. Companies should not ask for a letter from the employee’s church or pastor, because the pastor may support the vaccine, but the employee’s personal belief does not allow vaccination. You can request a written statement explaining their belief. There may be more guidance issued on the proof that the OSHA may require, but right now it is within the employer’s discretion.

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About the Authors

Julie A. Pace

Julie A. Pace is an Employment OSHA Attorney at Gammage & Burnham, which is located in Phoenix, AZ. Her practice handles employment law, handbooks, drug and alcohol policies, I-9 and E-Verify compliance, OSHA, and independent contractor and alleged misclassification issues with the DES and other government agencies.

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Heidi Nunn-Gilman

Heidi Nunn-Gilman is an Attorney at Gammage & Burnham, which is located in Phoenix, AZ

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