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Can My Employer Fire Me If I Don’t Get Vaccinated for COVID-19?

Employment Law / November 17, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an unprecedented time as the world tries to move forward in the safest way possible. For many Americans, the release of several different COVID-19 vaccination options signifies a hopeful future. While the vaccine has been a beacon of hope for many, some people are still skeptical and have chosen not to receive the vaccine.

When it comes to employment, many employers want to keep their employees safe by requiring vaccination. Some employees may face termination if they choose not to receive the vaccine. Hollis Law Firm has a team of knowledgeable employment lawyers who may be able to help you understand the laws concerning the termination of an employee who chooses not to get vaccinated for COVID-19.

Can You Be Fired for Not Getting the COVID-19 Vaccination?

COVID-19 is a virus that has taken the lives of too many since the beginning of the pandemic. To protect employees, many employers require that employees receive the vaccination to prevent anyone from suffering deadly symptoms. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), it is well within an employer’s rights to make the vaccine requirement a term or condition of employment. This means that if employees choose not to get the vaccine, their employer has the right to terminate them for violating the terms of their employment.

Some exceptions may be made for employees who do not wish to get the COVID-19 vaccination for any of the following reasons:

  • Medical reasons that may make the vaccine unsafe for the employee
  • Sincerely held religious beliefs that would prevent a person from being injected with the vaccine

If an employee wishes to be exempt from getting the vaccine for either of these reasons, they may submit an accommodation request to their employer.

Can Employees Who Are Fired for Refusing to Get Vaccinated Collect Unemployment?

After an employee is laid-off from their job, they typically can collect unemployment benefits to help them stay afloat while they search for another job. During the height of the pandemic, many Americans were collecting unemployment after the country-wide stay-at-home order resulted in many companies not having enough revenue to support their employee payrolls.

If an employee is terminated after refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccination and does not fall into either exemption category, they may be unable to collect unemployment benefits. The requirement for employees to get the vaccine is considered a company policy or term of employment. Whenever an employee is fired for violating a policy or term of employment, they are usually not eligible for unemployment.  However, a small number of states (including Missouri and Kansas) are considering legislation that would extend unemployment benefits to employees who are fired for refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccination (only a very small minority of states, including Iowa and Tennessee, have actually enacted such legislation).

Contact an Experienced Employment Lawyer at Hollis Law Firm Today

Employers may be within their rights to fire an employee who refuses to get the COVID-19 vaccine or has broken any other term of employment. If you believe that you have been wrongfully terminated, however, you should consult with an experienced employment lawyer who may be able to help with your claim.

Hollis Law Firm has a team of skilled lawyers with experience helping clients in Kansas and Missouri. We are proud to provide our clients with the dedicated representation they deserve. To schedule a free consultation with our experienced employment lawyer, you can contact us here or call (800) 701-3672.