December 18, 2020

Indiana Employers Can Require Vaccines, But Will They?

Original story from   IPBS-RJC

Article origination IPBS-RJC
Employees at Kem Krest in Elkhart get temperature screenings upon entering the facility. - Justin Hicks/IPB News

Employees at Kem Krest in Elkhart get temperature screenings upon entering the facility.

Justin Hicks/IPB News

With some exceptions, Indiana employers can legally require workers to be vaccinated for COVID-19. But, that probably won’t happen anytime soon due to several factors including a limited supply.

The only protected exemptions to mandatory worker vaccination would be those who can’t get it due to a medical condition, or those who refuse it based on a sincerely held religious belief. In those cases, employers would have to offer reasonable accommodations instead.

READ MORE: How Will Indiana Distribute COVID-19 Vaccines? Here's What You Need To Know

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Amy Adolay is a partner at Indiana-based law firm Krieg Devault specializing in labor and employment laws. She says places like hospitals or even schools might require vaccinations in the future, but expects it won’t happen right away.

Part of that is due to a fear of staffing shortages if workers refuse to comply. 

“I have seen some polls that suggest that some employers will require it, but even those I’m talking to in health care say they don’t plan to make it mandatory at this time,” she said. "So employees should expect face masks will continue, social distancing will continue, other disinfection practices will continue for quite a while yet."

Adolay adds it’s uncertain whether employers who require vaccination could be protected from lawsuits or workers’ compensation claims if workers experience side effects. Those liabilities might become more clear through legislation on the federal or state level. 

Contact reporter Justin at jhicks@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @Hicks_JustinM.

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