Photo: LookerStudio (Shutterstock)
As a Delta COVID variant spreading, More and more employers require their employees to be vaccinated. As we’ve seen in some high profile examples, non-compliance has resulted in employees as well get fired or quit their job to avoid the sting. But are they still entitled to unemployment benefits? The short answer is no, as the law favors employers when it comes to vaccines. Here’s what you need to know.
Rejection of the vaccine is a reason for termination
According to USA Today, a current US Department of Justice legal opinion acknowledges that private companies have a legal right to mandate COVID vaccines, provided they don’t violate any applicable state and federal laws, which you can review here. That is, if your company’s policy now requires a vaccination and you don’t get one, you could be fired and excluded from unemployment benefits. You also wouldn’t qualify if you quit your job just because you don’t want to get vaccinated.
You need a good reason to collect unemployment
In order to receive unemployment benefits, you usually have to be unemployed through no fault of your own, for example during a round of layoffs in your company. You are not entitled to unemployment if you have been laid off for misconduct and that may include a violation of your company’s new vaccine policy. (It should be mentioned here that in some states You can still claim unemployment benefits if you have been made redundant for less serious reasons, such as: B. just not good at your job.)
G / O Media can receive a commission
The only exception to this is what is known as a “good cause”. This is the point where you categorically roll back your employer for valid reasons, such as unsafe working conditions, lack of pay, or discrimination. In many states, “good cause” can include discrimination on the basis of religion or disability. In this case, a claim could be made if your employer did not make reasonable arrangements before you were terminated or fired (e.g., work from home or other social distancing measures).
However, these precautions must not represent “unreasonable hardship” for the employer. In this case, an employer might argue that refusing a vaccine prevents you from doing your job effectively, that you pose a health risk to other employees. You will also need to provide documents to prove that you cannot get a vaccine for a legitimate medical or religious reason and that your employer violated your rights. From a legal point of view, it would be an uphill battle.
As employment lawyer Joshua Van Kampen explained in a Yahoo! interviewDon’t expect to find lawyers willing to sue an employer for compulsory vaccination: “I haven’t found a valid religious objection to vaccination yet. I think people will be surprised when they know they don’t have a lot of legal options. “
Do not expect unemployment benefits if you violate your company’s vaccination requirements, as this will be seen as a reason for termination. Technically, you could qualify for a medical or religious exception, but that would be very difficult to prove. As these guidelines are becoming the norm, it is best to simply get the vaccine.