Cincinnati Childrens Hospital social media policy

In addition to considering the legal aspects of flu policies, employers should consider how such a policy will affect the office. Are you prepared to enforce the policy uniformly, regardless of the importance of the refusing employee? Have you considered making vaccination a condition of employment? Is there a written policy that addresses the need for vaccinations and a procedure by which employees can raise objections? These things all deserve consideration before announcing a new mandatory requirement.

Mandatory flu shots can promote a healthy workforce, but it takes a dose of education and common sense to make sure that they are legally sound and enforceable.

Chad Hopkins

This article is intended as a summary of newly enacted federal and state law and does not constitute legal advice.

As summer draws to an end, flu season is lurking right around the corner. Last year’s flu season was especially hard-hitting. Many employers have taken proactive steps in recent years to protect their workforce by offering free flu vaccines or encouraging employees to get one on their own. But, can employers go one step further and require their at-will employees to receive flu shots?

It is axiomatic that, with limited exceptions, “at-will” employees (which comprise the majority of America’s workforce), can be terminated for any reason, or no reason, at all. Just as an employer does not need a reason to implement a vaccine policy, it usually does not need a reason to fire an employee for choosing to violate the policy. Indeed, requiring a flu shot makes good sense in many situations – especially where employees regularly engage with customers. Likewise, the case for health care workers’ immunization is especially strong, as the CDC highly recommends annual flu vaccinations for employees in this industry every October.

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