The New Jersey Department of Labor (NJDOL) has released guidance clarifying the circumstances in which employers may require their employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccination prior to returning to work.
April 2021 Guidance:
The guidance says employers may require that their employees receive COVID-19 vaccinations to return to the workplace, except under the following circumstances:
- The employee has a disability or a sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance that precludes them being vaccinated; or
- The employee's physician has advised otherwise due to pregnancy, or need to breastfeed.
An employer must provide a reasonable accommodation from a mandatory vaccine policy for any of the reasons listed above unless doing so would impose an undue burden on their operations.
Employers must consider the safety of themselves, coworkers, clients, and customers when evaluating whether a potential accommodation would be reasonable. They must base all safety decisions regarding any potential safety hazard on objective, scientific evidence and not unfounded assumptions or stereotypes.
Reasonable accommodation may include:
- Allowing an employee to continue to work remotely or otherwise work in a manner that would reduce or eliminate the risk of harm to other employees or the public; or
- Providing an employee with personal protective equipment that sufficiently mitigates the employee's risk of COVID-19 transmission and exposure.
New Jersey employers should review their policies and practices to ensure adherence to the new guidance. Please contact your dedicated service professional with any questions.