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You require the vaccine. Some employees refuse.

March 2, 2021
What steps, if any, can you take when you've made the COVID-19 vaccine a requirement and some employees choose not to get it? These HR experts have answers.
Rebecca Boartfield and Tim Twigg, Human Resources Experts

Rebecca Boartfield and Tim Twigg are human resources experts with Bent Ericksen & Associates who deal closely with dentists and are familiar with their HR issues. Boartfield and Twigg have stayed on top of the rapidly changing HR environment due to COVID-19. Here is one of the latest frequent questions they've heard. Click here to read more questions and answers about FFCRA and COVID.

What steps do I take if I require the vaccine and an employee requests an exception?

Handling these requests will depend on why someone is asking for the exception. If it is simply that they are an “anti-vaxxer” and don’t approve, or that they’re scared or apprehensive about taking it, or some other personal reason, then you simply need to determine if you will allow this exception or not. Keep in mind that fighting with someone on this issue may not be the best solution. This is why you should consider making the vaccine voluntary rather than mandatory.

On the other hand, if their reasoning is tied to a religious concern, a medical condition, or a disability, then you will need to go through what’s called a “good faith interactive process” in order to determine whether or not the person can be reasonably accommodated. This is because these types of concerns are protected by law and must be carefully managed. This process is fact intensive and is done on a case-by-case basis. It should also involve documentation throughout, which should be kept safe and confidential in case a lawsuit is filed against the employer.

Feel free to contact us to speak with an HR consultant in order to best determine how to manage your unique situations in order to prevent liability.

To read more HR questions on DIQ, go to DentistryIQ.com and search "human resources questions for dentists."

Rebecca Boartfield is HR compliance consultant and Tim Twigg is president of Bent Ericksen & Associates. For more than 30 years, the company has been a leading authority in human resources and personnel issues, helping dentists successfully deal with ever-changing and complex labor laws. To receive a complimentary copy of the company’s quarterly newsletter or to learn more, visit bentericksen.com.