Influenza vaccine exemptions for employee, Oklahoma

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Influenza vaccine exemptions for employee, Oklahoma

I am having a hard time trying to find out if an employer can make you get the influenza vaccine and, if they can, then what exemptions can you use, Also, if someone wants to use the religious exemption but is not currently attending a church, yet they truly have strong beliefs, do they still have to find a church to sign an exemption letter? This is a hospital but I only works in an office across from the actual hospital building itself.

Asked on November 28, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Oklahoma

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

1) Yes, an employer can require the flu shot, like it can require the use of protective clothing, or ban employees who are obviously sick from work. Employers have considerable discretion when it comes to setting policies designed to protect worker (and customer, patient, etc.) health, and given that you work at a hospital, where there are many people who have compromised immune systems and who need to be protected from exposure to the flu, their right to demand the flu shot is clear and unequivocal.
2) The religious exemption requires not just strong feelings or beliefs on your part, but that the shot be actively against the tenants or principals of a religion you demonstrably and actively adhere to, such as if you are an active member (e.g. regular churchgoer) of the Jehovah's Witnesses or Christian Science. If you can't demonstrate that, the religious exemption is not available to you.


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