Can employers force employees to get a flu shot?

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Can employers force employees to get a flu shot?

What are the laws and acts that might be in violation? Also, if they don’t make it mandatory but give a button to those that get the shot, is that in violation of ADA? Or any other?

Asked on October 8, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Generally speaking, employers may institute a mandatory vaccine policy and fire workers if they do not comply. This is because most employment arrangements are “at will”, which means that employees can be fired for any reason at any time. Exceptions to this do exist however. For instance, if there exists a union agreement or employment contract prohibiting forced flu shots. Additionally, anti-discrimination laws, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), may make mandatory flu shots illegal. For example, if an employee's religious beliefs and practices prevent them from taking vaccines (or other medications) they typically can't be forced to take it. The final exception would be if an employee cannot take such a shot to due an existing medical condition.


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