mandatory flu shot policy

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mandatory flu shot policy

Employer just instituted mandatory flu vaccine
policy. Is that unconstitutional? Also, can
decline by medical or religious reasons, but they
want permission to speak to my clergyman. Is
that legal?

Asked on October 11, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Unless you have a specific reason for not being subjected to the flu shot, such as a deeply-held religious belief or medical condition, then your employer can make a flu shot mandatory you. Also, you may have protection afforded if there exists a an employment contract or union agreement that provides otherwise. The fact is that most work relationships are "at will" which means that your employer can generally impose requirements as it sees fit and terminate your employment if you do not comply. For your part, you can choose to stay with the company or quit.

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Most employment relationships are "at will". This means that a company can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit, including mandating that workers get a flu shot. Exceptions to this would include if such a mandate violates an employment/union contract, if the shot is contra-indicated due to a medical condition, or if taking such a shot is prohibited due to religious reasons. That having been said, a religious objection or disability would not automatically exempt an employee from having to get a flu shot, however it would necessitate determining whether a true religious reason exists and, if so, whether an accommodation could be implemented for the employee. Speaking to a clergyman would certainly be one way to accomplish this. Note, if it is determined that there is no reason to grant an exemption, then the worker could be disciplined or even terminated.


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