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COVID Law Frequently Asked Questions

  • By: lipplaw
    Published: May 26, 2021


Q: Can US employers require employees to get COVID vaccines?

A: Yes, if the vaccine is necessary to an employer’s business + related to an employee’s job. But, because COVID vaccines are in the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) stage, employers should weigh the positives of a vaccinated workforce against the risks of mandating vaccines.

Q: Doesn’t HIPAA prevent employers from asking employees for private health info?

A: Usually no. HIPAA generally applies to employers with self-funded health insurance plans + healthcare providers. Even if an employer is a covered entity under HIPAA, HIPAA doesn’t apply to employment records (but the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does).

Employers must keep the vaccination records confidential under the ADA.

Q: What exemptions can employees use for the COVID vaccine?

A: Employees can request exemptions based on sincerely held religious beliefs under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or for a medical reason under the ADA. There is no exemption for personal beliefs.

This post doesn’t address specific state laws, is meant to be general in nature + should not be taken as legal advice.

Kathryn Megan Lipp

Katie dedicates her practice to employment separation guidance.
Based on her successful employment litigation practice...Read More