With California set to expand COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to all healthy adults on April 16, 2021, many businesses have begun to contemplate the new “normal”. While no one knows exactly what that will be yet, vaccination status is expected to be a large part of it. The purpose and effectiveness of a theoretical “vaccine passport” has been hotly debated, just like the debate over mask requirements. While many aspects of the vaccine passport debate remain unresolved, one thing is certain: it is not illegal for employers to ask its workers and potential workers about vaccination status, to request proof of vaccination status, or to make hiring decisions based on vaccination status. This is particularly relevant for employees in healthcare professions. For now, at least.
Employment law designates several protected classes on which it is illegal to discriminate; vaccination status is not among those protected classes. While there are some guidelines that businesses must follow related to vaccinations, for example asking why an employee is not vaccinated, businesses are currently within their rights to mandate vaccinations as a condition for continued employment or hiring. There are some exceptions, such as if mandating a vaccine would violate the rights of a protected class. It is possible that vaccination status may become a protected class in some states, but this is not likely in California.
The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth helps workers who have faced employment discrimination as a member of a protected class under employment law take legal action against offending businesses. Discrimination can occur at any time of the hiring process, whether applying for a job, interviewing for a job, working a job, seeking promotion, reporting a work injury, termination, or at any time in between. Our dedicated employment law team offers free case evaluations and contingency fees; employment law clients are not charged for our services if we do not win their case. To schedule your free consultation, call us today at 888-517-9888.