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Vaccines in the Workplace: Professor Doron Dorfman Discusses with CNYCentral

Posted on Wednesday 8/25/2021
Doron Dorfman

White House says it will pull 'every possible lever' to require vaccination

(CNYCentral | Aug. 24, 2021) There's a growing push for employers, schools and other institutions to require vaccination against COVID-19 now that the Food and Drug Administration has granted full approval for the use of Pfizer's two-dose vaccine in people 16 and older.

On Tuesday, members of the White House COVID-19 response team said the federal government would be looking for more ways to encourage private sector players to "step up" and require shots ...

... Doron Dorfman, an employment law professor at Syracuse University College of Law, noted that the legality of employer mandates was never in question, even when the vaccine was under emergency use authorization.

"The full authorization of the vaccine might be triggering more employers to require it ... but it's not a legal issue," Dorfman explained.

It has long been understood that employers could require employees to get vaccinated to ensure a safe work environment, among other reasons. The position was upheld earlier this year by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

In July, the Justice Department issued a legal opinion, stating that federal law does not prohibit public agencies and private businesses from requiring COVID-19 vaccines, including those authorized under emergency use.

Outside of discriminatory behavior, the law gives employers a lot of leeway to hire or fire at will, Dorfman said. "As long you don't have an anti-discrimination law against people who don't want to get vaccinated...they are not a protected category under the law" ...

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