As we celebrate the start of another week, today’s Weekend Roundup explores whether or not employers can require employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine, how unsafe working conditions can make some employees eligible for retroactive unemployment benefits, and why retaliation became the No. 1 workplace discrimination complaint last year. Click the headlines below to learn more.
With several vaccines on the market and many states rolling out mass-vaccination plans, employers are beginning to ask: Can my company require employees to have the COVID-19 vaccine? In short, the answer is “yes,” with appropriate justifications and reasonable accommodations for certain employees. The question, however, touches many areas of law and is unique to each employer.
On Feb. 25, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) clarified in guidance that laid-off individuals who refuse work because of COVID-19 safety concerns may be eligible for unemployment benefits.
“For many of America’s workers, choosing between unsafe employment and refusing work to avoid the risk of coronavirus infection has serious consequences,” the DOL stated. “Too often, those who do not return to work or accept a job offer over concerns about workplace exposure lose their state unemployment benefits.”
More than half of all workplace discrimination complaints filed with the U.S. involve retaliation, according to figures from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Retaliation was the most frequently cited claim in charges filed with the agency—accounting for 55.8 percent of all charges filed—followed by disability, race and sex, reveal the data for the 2020 fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2020.
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