Can a hospital fire a 41 year employee if they refuse to take the Hepatitis and DTP vaccine?

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Can a hospital fire a 41 year employee if they refuse to take the Hepatitis and DTP vaccine?

I have worked there for 41 years and have always waived the hepatitis vaccine. Now all of a sudden I get a letter in the mail that states that if I don’t take the vaccines that I will be suspended and fired for non-compliance. They said they began to enforce this policy 6 months ago.

Asked on January 12, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can potentialy be terminated for not getting mandatory vaccines. Your employer is entitled to require this to protect not just patients but also other staff members. Further, the fact is that company policy can be changed or newly enforced. Your only recourse here would be if you have an employment contract or union agreement that states otherwise. Also, your treatment must not constitute some form of legally actionable discrimination (e.g. getting these vaccines run counter to your religious beliefs, etc.). Otherwise, I'm afraid that if you refuse them, you can be lawfully terminated. As an "at will" worker, your employer can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit.


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