Article by Annette Idalski and Brian Smith on “COVID-19 Vaccine Policies For Oil and Gas Employers”
In an article published on March 30, 2021 in SHALE Oil & Gas Business Magazine, Annette Idalski and Brian Smith discuss whether employers can require employees to be vaccinated, specifically as it relates to the oilfield where many duties cannot be performed remotely.
“The short answer is yes,” explains Idalski and Smith. “Employers can mandate their employees be vaccinated as a requirement to return to work but must be mindful of various legal issues which may arise.” They further explain that while employers may mandate the COVID-19 vaccination, they must be careful with respect to any medical questions asked and be prepared to explore whether reasonable accommodations might be necessary for employees covered by Title VII and the ADA who refuse the vaccine.
An accommodation is reasonable so long as it does not cause undue hardship for the employer. In the oilfield, reasonable accommodations may be challenging because “fieldwork” cannot be performed remotely in many instances, and safety concerns may prevent the constant use of face coverings or respirators.
“Mandatory vaccination policies may lead to increased litigation and potential morale issues,” said Idalski and Smith. “Ultimately, just because available guidance indicates employers may mandate COVID-19 vaccination, employers should consider carefully if the needs of the business justify the risks associated with such a policy.”
To read the article in full, click here.