With the change in mask requirements and the removal of COVID restrictions for fully vaccinated people, many are wondering what it is and what is not allowed when applying for vaccination tests.
Some wonder if the need for vaccination tests violates HIPAA or the Health Insurance Liability and Liability Act of 1996.
So does this apply to your vaccination status?
“HIPAA governs doctors, hospitals, companies like that,” said Matthew Kugler, an associate professor of law at Northwestern University. “If your restaurant says, ‘Hey, show me your medical history,’ that’s something they can say. You don’t have to say yes, as if to say, ‘No, snail, I’ll go somewhere else.’ . “But it’s not a HIPAA problem to ask them to see it. It’s only a HIPAA problem if they break into your doctor’s office and steal it.”
To date, many big box stores rely on a system of honor for customers, asking those who are not vaccinated to continue masking, but some companies require those who wish to go without masks to prove their vaccination.
“Generally, people are required to make reasonable accommodations for things,” Kugler said. “So that’s why if you show up at a store and you say‘ I want to come in ’and they say to me,‘ Are you vaccinated? “and you say, ‘No,’ they’re like, ‘Oh, here’s your mask.’ That’s reasonable accommodation. I’m having a hard time seeing how asking someone to wear a mask would give reasons for a lawsuit. ‘
The rules are similar when it comes to employers, but certain problems can arise when it comes to the Americans with Disabilities Act and anti-religious discrimination laws, Kugler said.
According to the December guidelines of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, asking an employee to prove vaccination would not violate the ADA. However, asking for reasons why someone is not vaccinated can be a problem.
“Simply requesting proof of receipt of a vaccine against COVID-19 is not likely to obtain information about a disability and is therefore not a disability-related investigation,” the commission states. “However, subsequent questions from employers, such as asking why a person did not receive a vaccine, may obtain information about a disability and would be subject to the relevant ADA standard that is“ related to the job and be compatible with business needs “.
The ADA, however, allows an employer to have “the requirement that a person not pose a direct threat to the health or safety of people in the workplace.”
“If a safety-based qualification standard, such as a vaccination requirement, eliminates or tends to eliminate a person with a disability, the employer must demonstrate that an employee without vaccination would pose a direct threat due to a“ risk significant damage to the health or safety of the person or others that cannot be eliminated or reduced by reasonable accommodation, ”says the EEOC guide.
For those with a religious exemption, the guidelines are similar.
“If an employee is unable to be vaccinated against COVID-19 due to a disability or sincerely maintains religious beliefs, practices or observance, and there is no reasonable accommodation possible, it would be lawful for the employer to exclude the employee from the position work, “says the guide.
This does not mean, however, that an employer can immediately dismiss an unvaccinated employee.
“Employers will need to determine whether other rights apply under EEO laws or other federal, state, and local authorities,” according to the guide.
According to the Ohio Bar Association, employers can request vaccination evidence, regardless of whether or not employees need to be vaccinated.
“With or without applying for a vaccination warrant, employers can ask employees to provide evidence of their vaccine as long as it does not contain any other medical information,” the associate said. “Any information collected about vaccinations should be treated as confidential.”