Rose Kenyon Discusses with TBJ Employers Mandating Vaccine and Its Legal Impact
In the January 12, 2021 Triangle Business Journal article "Require workers to get vaccine? Raleigh-Durham execs should prepare for backlash," employment attorney Rose Kenyon shared legal insight on companies deciding to mandate that employees receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Rose confirmed that legally, while companies can decide to mandate that employees receive the vaccine, there’s a lot to think about – and that includes potential liability involving the transmission of the virus. Rose added that, if it can be proven that a worker got Covid at work, there could be liability – "though most studies are showing employees are actually getting it and bringing it to work."
"Employers are thinking more about it because they want to be back in the office," Rose said. "They are still afraid of the virus because it’s been so devastating. And an employer has a legal obligation ... to make the environment safe."
According to the article, most Triangle employers, including RedHat and Pendo, have not taken a hard stance on whether it’s something they’ll actually require of employees. Some large companies, such as Kroger, RDU Airport Authority and Butterball, have already said they won't require that employees get vaccinated. There’s also an employee relation side to implementing a vaccine policy, and Rose cautioned companies to be prepared for backlash – and to weigh that into the decision-making process.
"We’re dealing with, at best in the short run, the FDA’s emergency use authorization, which is not a full authorization," she said. "A lot of employers are going to be leery of imposing it because there are going to be a lot of employees opposed to it."
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The Triangle Business Journal (TBJ) is the leading source of business news and events covering all industries in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, North Carolina and the surrounding areas. The Business Journals report on local and national issues that impact businesses and are a division of the American City Business Journals (ACBJ), the largest publisher of metropolitan business newsweeklies in the United States.