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Can employers force you to get the COVID vaccine? NYS Bar Association calls for employers to mandate the shot

Can your employer mandate that you get the coronavirus vaccine? That has been a major point o discussion and debate since the Food and Drug Administration gave full approval to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. The announcement comes as the state hits 58.4% fully vaccinated.

While some legal experts in the field of employment law have weighed in noting that it isn’t taboo for employers to make requests – a new entity has stepped forward with an opinion.

The New York State Bar Association said that any employers should mandate that employers across the state get vaccinated. They said that any workers who have face-to-face interactions with each other, or with customers pose a risk to the community and each other, which means that vaccination is an important component of working safely amid the rise of the Delta Variant.

“Make no mistake about it, the pandemic is not yet over in New York or elsewhere,” said T. Andrew Brown, president of the New York State Bar Association. “To safeguard public health, we must do everything within our legal powers to make sure everyone gets vaccinated. The science and the law are on our side in this effort, in which we must take action to safeguard the largest number of people possible and cannot be held hostage to the opposition of an outspoken minority.”

Companies like Walt Disney, Delta, and United have been imposing rules for vaccination. They range from mild to harsh – based on a number of factors. But more companies are moving toward the direction of “vaccinate or find new work.”

The only group of people who do not yet qualify for the vaccine are children under 12.

“This is an important step the New York State Bar Association has taken to address the threat to the public’s health in the rapidly-changing pandemic environment and the issues of equity and vaccine access,” added Dr. Mary Beth Morrissey. She chairs the task force and is a public health law attorney.