Russellville, MO asked in Employment Law and Family Law for Missouri

Q: Are companies required to pay by law if you are off with COVID and unvaccinated. Vaccinated people get paid if off.

they have made it a policy that if vaccinated then you will get paid for being off with COVID and if unvaccinated you will not get paid. I see that as discrimination, that is no different than sexual preferences, race etc.

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2 Lawyer Answers
Robert Grant Pennell
Robert Grant Pennell
Answered
  • Manchester, MO
  • Licensed in Missouri

A: There is a big difference between this and sexual preferences, race. Federal law prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, sex, age (40+), religion, national origin, or disability. Discrimination on any basis other than against one of those special classes is perfectly legal. As an employer, I am free to discriminate against you because you are a Cubs fan, your failure to use deodorant, that ugly orange outfit you insist on wearing, or any other reason provided it isn't based on you being a member of one of those six (6) special protected classes. The class of folks that are or aren't vaccinated is not a protected class. Because of that, an employer is well within its rights to only offer to pay employees that are off due to COVID if they have obtained the vaccination.

Ronald J. Eisenberg
PREMIUM
Ronald J. Eisenberg
Answered
  • Chesterfield, MO
  • Licensed in Missouri

A: Mr. Pennell is right on.

By way of further example, it is not unlawful for an employer to discriminate against employees on account of poor performance. That would be discrimination, but not unlawful discrimination.

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