Can Companies Require the COVID-19 Vaccine? Fenwick’s Sheeva Ghassemi-Vanni Explains

Fenwick litigation and employment practices partner Sheeva Ghassemi-Vanni was recently interviewed by the Silicon Valley Business Journal regarding the extent to which employers can require employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.

Ghassemi-Vanni explained that companies can require employees to be vaccinated as long as employers provide a reasonable accommodation exception process for individuals who cannot be vaccinated due to disabilities or their religious beliefs.

“If an employee’s refusing for a reason other than religion or disability, then the employer does have the right and ability to move forward with its plan of making a vaccine mandatory for return to work,” she said.

Asked whether employers can require the vaccine while it’s only authorized for emergency use, which may conflict with federal and state guidelines, Ghassemi-Vanni responded that at the moment agencies are saying it can be required.

“I am fully focused on what the government agencies are stating, because that is what will govern here. Obviously, it’s still early days with the vaccination and I’m sure there will be litigation that will flow — employment and otherwise — from the vaccination.”

The full article is available on Silicon Valley Business Journal (subscription required).​