Now, the CDC strongly recommends urgent action to vaccinate pregnant women. But, what about accommodations?


pregnant woman by Adrien Coquet from the Noun Project

Days Since Last COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination Post: One Zero.

A little over a month ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officially recommended vaccinations for all women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future (collectively, “什”).

(Yeah, that’s right. I’m short-handing with an emoji.)

Yesterday, the CDC doubled down by recommending “urgent action to increase Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination among people who are [什].” Accordingly, the CDC now “strongly recommends COVID-19 vaccination either before or during pregnancy because the benefits of vaccination outweigh known or potential risks.”

So what does the CDC’s position mean for your business?

First, regardless of whether your workplace mandates vaccinations, it should continue to promote vaccinations to the entire workforce, including 什 employees. The CDC recommends that public health jurisdictions “communicate accurate information about COVID-19 vaccines, respond to gaps in information, and confront misinformation with evidence-based messaging from credible sources. For example, there is currently no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems in women or men.” Businesses can do the same.

No more pregnancy accommodations?

I’m not saying that, at all.

However, businesses that mandate vaccinations (or may have to soon), should know how to deal with 什employees who seek a vaccination accommodation.

In May, the EEOC said that “employees who are not vaccinated because of pregnancy may be entitled (under Title VII) to adjustments to keep working, if the employer makes modifications or exceptions for other employees. These modifications may be the same as the accommodations made for an employee based on disability or religion.”

The keywords here are “may be entitled.

A company should decline a 什 employee’s vaccination accommodation request based on her say-so alone unless it has already excused other employees similar in their ability or inability to work. It’s no different than if someone sought a disability-related vaccination accommodation without any supporting medical documentation.

However, if a 什 employee supports her accommodation request with a valid doctor note — especially if she has a pregnancy-related disability — shift your focus to the accommodation. Some options include remote work or a combination of masking, social distancing, and regular testing.

Got it?

Tomorrow, I’m coming back with something called the “Don’t Jab Me Act” — yes, I’m serious — that was introduced yesterday in the Senate to block President Biden’s proposed vaccine mandate.

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