Q: I’m a federal employee and going to refuse the vaccine mandate. If fired, will this violate laws meant to protect me?
Mandatory workplace COVID – 19 Vaccinations are lawful with some exceptions based on disability and religion. If you are not eligible for those exemptions and still chose to refuse to get a vaccine, your employer will be within its right to terminate you and you will not have recourse.
Maya L. Serkova
A: Federal law states that if an employee does not want to get vaccinated (must be for religious exemption or due to disability), they will be subject to weekly testing. Therefore, if you are not going to get the vaccine, you will be subject to weekly testing. Vaccination status is not a protected category when it comes to unlawful harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation.
1 user found this answer helpful
Mandatory vaccination is lawful. It has been since 1905 when the US Supreme Court issued its opinion in Jacobson v. Massachusetts. That decision, although old, has been cited to over 800 times and recently by our US Supreme court in the last two years. You will have no recourse if you refuse to be vaccinated unless you can establish that either (1) you have a medical condition that prevents you from being vaccinated (which should be established with a doctor's note, or (2) you genuinely have a closely held religious belief that prevents you from getting the vaccination.
Even if you establish one of these two exceptions, you do not get to simply walk around in the workplace as if there was no pandemic. Establishing either of these exceptions simply means that the employer and you have to interactively try to determine how you can perform the essential functions of your job while still protecting the interests the employer had in protecting its workforce and the public. If there is no way to do that, you can still be terminated.
Good luck to you.
Louis George Fazzi agrees with this answer
1 user found this answer helpful
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.