NJ Top News 5/27 – If Asked for Vax Proof at Work, You Probably Can’t Sue in NJ
If you spend any time on social media, you have likely seen comments like this one: "If my boss asks if I have been vaccinated, I'll sue him for a violation of HIPPA laws."
Don't count on it. HIPPA laws generally only apply to the healthcare industry, including doctors, hospitals, clinics or other medical facilities and medical workers.
Some have suggested rules set by the Americans with Disabilities Act might apply. Also no. Guidance issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission states asking an employee to provide proof of vaccination would not violate the ADA.
Just two days after Gov. Phil Murphy said employees at non-public worksheets would still need to mask up and practice social distancing, he reversed course under pressure from individual employers and business groups.
Under a new executive order, Murphy says if you can prove to your employer that you have been fully vaccinated, you can ditch the mask and social distancing. It is the first order Murphy has issued that involves any type of vaccine proof be provided.
In lifting the indoor mask mandate for public spaces and businesses like bars, restaurants, and retail stores, Murphy did not limit the privilege to only the vaccinated. His no-mask order applied to vaccinated and non-vaccinated individuals. He did allow those establishments to continue to require masks if they wish.
This is, however, new territory and the issue of providing vaccine status is likely to be tested in court eventually. Just because you refuse to get vaccinated or refuse to provide proof of vaccination status also does not mean you can be immediately be fired.
Guidance from the EEOC states "reasonable accommodations" should be provided. That could include the option to wear a mask and socially distance, and employers "will need to determine if any other rights apply under the EEO laws or other federal, state, and local authorities."
However, the EEOC also states: "If an employee cannot get vaccinated for COVID-19 because of a disability or sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance, and there is no reasonable accommodation possible, then it would be lawful for the employer to exclude the employee from the workplace."
When lawsuits are brought under the ADA it is often over what defines "reasonable accommodations."
More NJ Top News for May 27:
- Murphy doubles down on requiring kids to still mask-up at summer camp and in school.
- Where do you still have to wear a mask this summer"
- New Jersey backs off offering big cash prizes or other incentives to promote vaccination.
- For many NJ businesses, they will never recover pandemic losses.
- Breaking Bad's Walter White may have been the inspiration for a NJ cop's home meth lab.
- Beer throwing vice principal fighting back in court.
- Mayor says If you're gonna be trashy, stay out of Pt. Pleasant Beach.
- The clinging, stinging, jellyfish are back at the Jersey Shore.
- It will remain a sellers market for homes in NJ for the foreseeable future.