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COVID Tests, Vaccines, & Masks In the Workplace

Updated: Apr 10

As the Delta variant continues to wreak havoc, mask and testing requirements are getting confusing. Back in June, California dropped the mask mandate to allow fully vaccinated people to go mask-free in most settings. However, now many businesses are recommending or even requiring masks indoors despite vaccination status. Some employers also require the testing of employees. So what is legal, and what has gone too far? We are here to clear up the confusion and pass along the most current information.

Can my employer require a COVID-19 test as a condition of entering the workplace?

Yes. The EEOC has released employer guidance that states that testing is permissible if it is job-related and “consistent with business necessity and that an employee with COVID-19 would pose a direct threat to the workplace.” But the employers must maintain the confidentiality of results in accordance with ADA regulation and compensate employees for all time and expense in participating in the required testing.

I’m fully vaccinated, but my employer now requires masks for employees. Is this legal?

Yes. Currently, California requires masks for unvaccinated individuals, on public transit, in public schools, healthcare settings, detention centers, and shelters. However, if a business falls outside of those environments and still wants to require masks for all employees and patrons, they are within their legal capacity to require it. Further, if not wearing a mask creates a risk to the person related to their work dependent on state workplace safety guidelines, an employer can require it as well.

Can my employer ask if I am vaccinated? Can they ask for proof?

The EEOC has stated that employers may ask about vaccination status and require proof. However, employers cannot ask any intrusive medical questions regarding why the employee has not been vaccinated, as it could be considered a disability-related question.

Can an employer force employees to get vaccinated?

Employers can require vaccines but cannot violate ADA or other disability-related laws. They cannot ask about your medical history or conditions directly. However, if a third party distributes the vaccine, the limitations do not apply.

Have you been discriminated against in your workplace? Is your employer violating ADA or other disability laws? Contact Gomerman | Bourn & Associates for assistance. Call 415-545 -8608 today to schedule a free consultation.

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