Employers May Offer Limited Incentives for COVID-19 Vaccinations

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued guidance on May 28 that, under equal employment opportunity laws, employers may offer limited incentives to employees to be vaccinated, so long as the incentives are not coercive. But the agency cautioned that a “very large incentive” could make employees feel pressured to disclose protected medical information. And it noted that other federal, state and local laws may come into play.

Employer incentives for employees to disclose their vaccination status are not substantially limited if employees got the vaccine voluntarily from someone other than their employer. This exception to the limitation on vaccine incentives is no more coercive than mandatory vaccinations. The EEOC permits mandatory vaccinations for all employees physically entering the workplace, provided there are reasonable accommodations. Some argue mandatory vaccinations may be challenged under laws that the EEOC does not enforce, such as state laws.