What can I do if my employer is requiring employees to receive the flu vaccine but I have a medical condition that prohibits me from doing so?

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What can I do if my employer is requiring employees to receive the flu vaccine but I have a medical condition that prohibits me from doing so?

I work in the medical field as a receptionist. My employer has adopted a new company policy mandating all employees either get the flu vaccine, or wear a special mask from October – April. However, I have had Guillain-Barre Syndrome so getting the flu vaccine isn’t even an option for me. Wearing the required mask poses a problem on several levels: it muffles my voice so much that telephone conversation is virtually impossible (phone conversation is about 75% of my job), not to mention how uncomfortable wearing the mask is in the first place (I get very claustrophobic.) Do I have any reasonable options?

Asked on August 15, 2011 Utah

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you have a documented medical condition that would be affected by getting the flu shot and the alternative would prohibit you from doing your job then I think that you have a legitimate gripe.  How large is your medical office?  Do you have a personnel department or is it a small doctor's office?  First you need a letter from your MD documenting what you have written regarding the shot and your condition.  Next, you need to advise your employer - in writing - that wearing the mask would prohibit your ability to answer the phones.  Ask if there is another alternative that you and your employer could come up with given the circumstances.  See what they say.  Then go from there.  Good luck. 


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