Posted September 16, 2021
After the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, workplaces across the country saw significant changes. Adapting to the new norms of a post-COVID world can certainly be difficult. Employers face many challenges in protecting their liability when faced with an invisible enemy. But, there are still several ways to minimize the liability risk surrounding an in-person work environment in the wake of the new Delta variant.
There are significant risks to consider when deciding whether or not to require vaccinations for employees. If the vaccine is not required, and someone who is unvaccinated contracts the virus at work, the company could be held liable for unsafe working conditions. If a company requires the vaccine and terminates all employees who refuse, they could have a legal claim filed against them for discrimination. This puts companies in a tough spot, and often results in them seeking legal counsel to determine the best course of action.
The quickest and easiest way to minimize the risk of the Delta variant spreading in a workplace is to require vaccinations for all employees. Of course, this does not come with possible repercussions.
Generally, private businesses are legally permitted to require their employees to be vaccinated, as long as they are not discriminating based on a person’s religion or disability. Though, many businesses who have chosen to make the vaccine mandatory have experienced severe staffing issues, as many employees do not wish to be vaccinated and are forced out of their job. Employees often feel like they are being stripped of their rights when put in such a tough situation, which is why many companies are deciding to take a different route than simply mandating vaccination.
Alternatives To Requiring Vaccinations
When not requiring the vaccine, employers should regularly be encouraging workers to get vaccinated. Clear communication on any new policies or practices is extremely important as well. Another alternative approach has been to provide financial incentives for employees to get vaccinated, still allowing them to make their own decisions while keeping their job.
Employers can also reduce their liability by providing employees with the safest possible work environment. Things like regular sanitation, efficient ventilation, and employee training greatly mitigate the risk of employees being infected. By being able to demonstrate that all these things were regularly implemented in a workplace can free an employer of liability surrounding the spread of the Delta variant.