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Employers, Vaccine Mandates and Company Policies

9/17/21

Eastman & Smith associate Lindsey K. Self has been interviewed several times by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) regarding COVID-19 (a.k.a. coronavirus) vaccine mandates and policies.  In the first article regarding what the FDA’s approval of Pfizer’s vaccine means for employers, Ms. Self indicated employees may be more willing to be vaccinated now the Food & Drug Administration has fully approved the vaccine.  However, employees still may be exempt from a mandate if there are grounds for exemption such as religion or disability. 

The second article addresses whether or not an employee who is terminated for refusing to be vaccinated can collect unemployment.  Eligibility for unemployment depends on various factors including company policy, circumstances and the law.  While employers can contest unemployment claims, Ms. Self said, “contesting claims may promote future litigation.” 

Further, Ms. Self also was interviewed by SHRM regarding whether or not employees who work from home should be treated differently from those that are in the office.  According to Ms. Self, “having different policies or procedures for different job titles or departments is generally fine . . . when an employer has different policies for one set of employees, others may feel undervalued in the workplace.”

Ms. Self has nearly a decade of experience as a human resource professional, having worked in HR for several manufacturing companies, a staffing agency and a college.  As an attorney she provides advice on a variety of employment issues.  She is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) by the HR Certification Institute and as a Certified Professional by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM-CP).  Should you have any questions regarding company policies, please contact Ms. Self.