Lutz, FL asked in Employment Law and Civil Rights for Florida

Q: Can my job force me to get a COVID-19 vaccination?

I am a remote worker based out of Tampa, Fl. I am assigned to a medical center in Barre, MA. I am actively trying to become pregnant and there is not enough data on how COVID can affect my pregnancy or child. Not to mention long term affects of the vaccine itself. As a healthy 30 year old female who works strictly and permanently off site are they legally able to enforce this? They have demanded that I present a medical or religious waiver to keep my current position. Privately a Dr. informed me that they will only accept anaphylaxis as a medical exemption. I also believed that my religious beliefs were a matter of personal privacy.

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4 Lawyer Answers
Bruce Alexander Minnick
Bruce Alexander Minnick
Answered
  • Civil Rights Lawyer
  • Tallahassee, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: Each of the medical reasons you set forth as your reasons for not wanting to get the Covid vaccination have been discredited by every private and government health organization I am aware of.

Moreover, depending upon the nature of your "medical" job, from your employer's viewpoint, this issue is way more important than just about you and what you want to do personally.

If your medical employer is requiring vaccinations because they are concerned about all their OTHER employees and concerned about protecting the general public--to avoid getting sued by someone you infect--you will lose that argument too.

Charles M. Baron agrees with this answer

Charles M.  Baron
Charles M. Baron
Answered
  • Civil Rights Lawyer
  • Hollywood, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: If you wish to keep your job, the answer is yes - unless you have a medical disability that a medical professional has diagnosed as a type of disability that would put you in danger if you are administered a Covid vaccine (which would put the matter under the Americans with Disabilities Act), or unless you can demonstrate that you're a practitioner of a particular religion that has a core belief that prohibits this kind of medical help (which would put the matter under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act).

Regarding your concern about Covid affecting your pregnancy or child, not sure from you're phrasing if you mean you're worried that the vaccine might give you or your child Covid (which is impossible - it may give you certain symptoms, but NOT Covid), or if you're saying that there's not enough data to prove Covid might harm you or your child if you're not vaccinated. There's more than enough data proving the latter. However, regardless of the type and validity of concerns you may have, the above legal guidelines of employment law apply. If you feel you need to quit your job over this, it may be a good idea to ask the employer for a good written recommendation to show your future employment prospects.

Michael  Mayoral
Michael Mayoral
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Coral Gables, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: You should only seek and listen to medical advice from medical doctors, not lawyers on this forum. Contact an employment lawyer in your area and go over your legal options with them.

Jay P. Lechner Esq.
Jay P. Lechner Esq.
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Tampa, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: To clarify the previous responses, the Florida legislature has passed a bill that will prohibit a private employer from imposing a COVID-19 vaccination mandate for any full-time, part-time, or contract employee without providing individual exemptions that allow an employee to opt out on the basis of medical reasons, including, but not limited to, pregnancy or anticipated pregnancy; religious reasons; COVID-19 immunity; periodic testing; and the use of employer-provided personal protective equipment. The Governor is expected to sign it into law this week.

To claim an exemption based on pregnancy, the employee will need to submit an exemption statement signed by a physician or a physician assistant stating his or her opinion that the COVID-19 vaccination is not in the best medical interest of the employee.

If an employer receives a completed exemption statement, the employer will be required to allow the employee to opt out of the employer's COVID-19 vaccination mandate. Failure to do so could result in fines against the employer up to $50,000 per violation.

Contact an employment attorney for more information.

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