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Q&A: Can we ask employees for proof of COVID-19 Vaccination?

You can ask employees for proof that they’ve received the COVID-19 vaccine, but you need to be careful about how you ask for it and what you do with the information.

You should ask employees to provide proof that only includes their name, the date of vaccine (and whether first or second dose, if applicable), and, if necessary, their provider’s name. Asking for anything more than that could turn a simple request into a disability-related inquiry under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and should therefore be avoided.

You should also ensure that this information is kept confidential, along with any explanations about why an employee is not vaccinated. We recommend against asking employees why they are not vaccinated, but if you are mandating vaccines, this will likely come up when one or more employees indicate that they need an exception to your policy.

Finally, make sure that you don’t discriminate against employees who aren’t vaccinated because of their religious beliefs or disabilities. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects these characteristics and requires that you make reasonable accommodations for employees whose religious beliefs or disabilities prevent them from complying with your policies.

Answer from Kara, JD, SPHR:
Kara practiced employment law for five years and worked in Human Resources for several years prior to that. As an attorney, she worked on many wage and hour and discrimination claims in both state and federal court. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Oregon State University and earned her law degree from Lewis and Clark Law School.

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