Law Professor: employers can make the vaccine mandatory

Published: Dec. 17, 2020 at 3:52 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -As some people decide if they even want the vaccine, one question that many are asking is can an employer require workers get vaccinated? `Associate Professor of Law Anya Prince with University of Iowa says the short answer is yes. She says most employees work at will, and a company can make the vaccine mandatory, and fire a person if they choose not to get the shot.

There are some exceptions. Prince says a person can be excused for medical or reasons of a person’s faith. The medical issues could be something as common as allergies.

Under the American with Disabilities Act, an employer has to find ways to accommodate the worker, such as have them work from home or wear a mask in the office. “The big part here is that they can’t just say, o you’re not getting the vaccine due to a disability so we’re going to fire you,” said Prince. “They have to see whether or not they can accommodate that disability in some way. Although it has to be reasonable. The accommodation has to be reasonable. So if it’s not possible to make that accommodation then there’s rules under the law for that.”

A company can ask a worker to bring in a doctor’s note for proof of vaccinations. TV-9 reached out to several companies across Eastern Iowa to see if they will make the vaccine mandatory. Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo said it’s had no talks yet on one way or another, but it will be a discussion at some point.

Collins Aerospace in Cedar Rapids said they’re still looking at options but nothing has been formalized.

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