Employers within legal limits to mandate COVID vaccine

Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 8:54 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - As cases with the COVID Delta Variant continue to climb, various employers across mid-Michigan are mandating their employees to get the COVID-19 shot. Kimberly Brill agrees with the mandates.

“I think it’s a great idea because I’m vaccinated myself,” said Brill. “It should be the same as the flu shot and every other vaccine out there.”

However, most of the people we spoke to agree with Arthuria Watkins who believes it’s a violation of personal choice.

“I think that it’s best that people are able to make their own personal decision on that. Especially as adults,” said Watkins.

Michigan State University Associate Professor for the School of Human Resources and Labor Relations Stacy Hickox tells us employers have every right to mandate the vaccine.

“Employers can require the vaccine. The main justification is the safety of the customers, the clients, and the other workers,” said Hickox.

Hickox said businesses aren’t required to mandate vaccines. But, it’s actually illegal for them not to do something to protect their employees.

“Every employer has an obligation to maintain a safe workplace under Occupational Safety and Health standards-- both federal and state,” said Hickox. “The guidelines say employers should be either requiring the vaccine, or if employees are not vaccinated, they should be having all these safety precautions we’ve been practicing for the last 18 months in place.”

Hickox adds employers are legally obligated to make accommodations for those who are not able to get the vaccine due to medical or religious reasons.

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