Offices divided? As workers return, some businesses will treat the unvaccinated differently | Business

Offices divided? As workers return, some businesses will treat the unvaccinated differently | Business

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The university said in a July 13 announcement that workers who don’t upload their vaccination cards will be required to undergo weekly COVID-19 tests and wear masks.

Generally, employers have wide leeway in deciding how to handle vaccinations and COVID-19 precautions with workers, legal experts say.

“Employers are allowed to set whatever work rules they want unless there is a law specifically prohibiting it,” said Douglas Brayley, head of employment litigation at law firm Ropes & Gray.

He likened requiring face masks to requiring ties. Both are allowed, and employees who are at-will can be fired for not following those rules, unless there is a specific legally protected reason the employee cannot comply, he said.

It’s also generally acceptable for employers to tell unvaccinated workers that they have to test negative for COVID-19 before returning to work and practice social distancing, unless they have a disability that would prevent them from doing so, Abrams said. Unvaccinated people are not a protected class of workers under the law, he said.

Employers may also ask workers to present their vaccination cards as proof of their statuses, because those cards don’t contain any private, protected health information, said John Litchfield, a partner at law firm Foley & Lardner in Chicago. The cards include only workers’ names and birthdays, which employers already have, and information about when and where they received their shots, and the types of vaccines they got.

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