The EEOC issued new guidelines for employers who may want to offer incentives to its employees for receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
Can Employers Offer Vaccine Incentives to its Employees?
Yes, employers may offer vaccine incentives to its employees. An employer may offer incentives to those who voluntarily receive a vaccine administered by the employer or its agents. However, the employer may not ask about genetic information in the pre-screening vaccination questions. Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (“GINA”) prohibits employers from using genetic information when making employment decisions in any aspect of employment. Additionally, the employee should not feel pressured into receiving the vaccine because the incentive is so substantial that she no longer feels like she has a on option.
An employer may also offer incentives to employees who voluntarily show documentation that they received a vaccine from a third-party provider, such as a pharmacy. There is no limitation of the offered incentives.
Employer Incentives to Employees Whose Family Members Receive a Vaccine.
An employer may not offer vaccine incentives to an employee in exchange for an employee’s family member receiving a vaccine by the employer or its agent. Providing an incentive requires the employer’s vaccinator to ask the family member pre-screening vaccination questions which include medical questions. The pre-screening medical questions provides the employer with genetic information of the employee through family medical history, which is in violation of GINA.
Employers who administer a vaccine may still offer vaccination opportunities to employee family members, so long as the employer complies with GINA, does not require the family to receive the vaccination, and does not penalize the employee if the family member decides no to receive the vaccine.
In sum, an employer can offer incentives to its employees for receiving a Covid-19 vaccine so long as the incentive is not so substantial that it is coercive and the employer complies with GINA.
To learn more about the EEOC’s guidelines on employers requiring COVID-19 vaccines, click here.
For more information, please reach out to members of our employment law practice group.