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

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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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


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

Answered 6 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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