How Vaccine Status Can Lead to Workplace Discrimination
The COVID-19 pandemic forced numerous companies to adopt a remote work policy. With the introduction of the vaccine, many employers hoped to bring people back to work, and since then, many have implemented vaccine mandates. As vaccine mandates continue to be argued on the state and federal level, employment laws make it clear that employers must offer vaccine exemptions for medical purposes and sincerely held religious beliefs.
Even with exemptions in place, many employees worry how vaccine status could lead to workplace discrimination. Workplace discrimination lawyers at Chanfrau & Chanfrau work with individuals in Daytona Beach, FL, Palm Coast, FL, and surrounding areas to protect their employment rights and fight against discrimination based on vaccine status.
Can My Employer Ask if I Am Vaccinated?
To prevent workplace discrimination, employment laws prevent employers from asking employees questions that could reveal the existence of a physical or medical disability, which makes it illegal for employers to collect a wide range of medical information. However, under guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), employers are able to ask about an employee’s COVID-19 vaccine status. Employers may also require documentation or other proof of vaccine. If a vaccine mandate is in place and employees are unable to, or refuse to get a vaccine, they must provide a valid reason for exemption. While vaccine status can be collected by an employer, Human Resource (HR) departments must keep all medical information confidential.
How Can Vaccine Status Lead to Workplace Discrimination?
Although medical information should be kept private by HR, it can be difficult to prevent employers and other employees from learning about a person’s vaccination status. Even if a supervisor or coworker learns of an employee’s vaccination status, they do not have the right to treat that employee any differently. The EEOC prevents discrimination against employees on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, age, and disability. These protections also apply to vaccine status.
Despite protections against workplace discrimination, it still occurs at an alarming rate. Potential forms of workplace discrimination against unvaccinated employees include:
- Verbal harassment
- Denial of promotion, training, or other employment opportunities
- Changes in job classification, job assignments, or pay
- Exclusion from meetings or other work-related gatherings
What Should I Do if I Have Faced Workplace Discrimination?
Proving workplace discrimination on the basis of vaccine status can be tricky. Employers are often quick to provide an excuse for their behavior, often citing job performance or other reasons for workplace decisions. And as vaccine mandates continue to be debated by state and federal courts, the rights allowed to employees are continually changing.
The best chance a worker has to fight against discrimination related to vaccine status is to hire a knowledgeable workplace discrimination lawyer, such as those at our Daytona Beach law firm. Our team gathers the evidence necessary to prove workplace discrimination, so that employers can be held accountable for resulting damages.
Contact the Lawyers at Chanfrau & Chanfrau
If you believe that you have been a victim of workplace discrimination, the lawyers at Chanfrau & Chanfrau can help you consider your best course of legal action. Send us a message online or call (386) 258-7313 to schedule a personal consultation.