Reston Chamber of Commerce hosts panel on employer COVID-19 vaccine mandates

Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce logo (courtesy Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce)

The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce will host a panel tomorrow morning (Wednesday) to help employers help navigate questions about whether they can require COVID-19 vaccinations as more workers return to offices.

Co-sponsored by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority and the accounting firm Miller Musmar, the hour-long discussion will be lead by attorney Maureen E. Carr, a shareholder of the law firm Bean, Kinney & Korman. She specializes in employment law and commercial litigation.

According to the event description, Carr will go over the legal rules and implications of businesses requiring their employees to get vaccinated:

Attendees will learn:

  • How to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (?ADA?), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (?Title VII?), and other federal, state, and local employment laws.
  • The latest Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) COVID-19 guidance to address vaccination issues.
  • Potential legal consequences of requiring employees to be vaccinated.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued new guidance on May 28 stating that federal laws do not prevent employers from requiring all employees to be vaccinated in order to enter a physical workplace.

“In some circumstances, Title VII and the ADA require an employer to provide reasonable accommodations for employees who, because of a disability or a sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance, do not get vaccinated for COVID-19, unless providing an accommodation would pose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer’s business,” the guidance said.

The Washington Business Journal reported yesterday (Monday) that a survey conducted in February by an employment law firm found that less than 1% of responding employers were requiring vaccinations, with another 6% saying they planned to implement a mandate in the future.

However, there are some signs that businesses could be warming up to the idea, particularly after a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by workers over a Texas hospital’s vaccination requirement.

“Employment law attorneys say more businesses are now seriously considering vaccine mandates than they were three months ago,” the WBJ said. “They anticipate the number of employers implementing a mandate will climb in the months to come, with health care providers likely to lead the way.”

The Reston Chamber event will take place from 8:30-9:30 a.m. tomorrow. Registration is required by 8 a.m. the day of the talk to receive the Zoom link. Chamber members can participate for free, while non-members pay a $15 fee.

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