Employers Weigh Consequences Of COVID Vaccine Reactions
Some employers will be mandating or encouraging employees to get the COVID vaccine once it becomes available to everyone. What happens if one worker has a negative reaction to the COVID vaccine? If the worker needs to miss time from work, will they be able to file a claim on the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance policy?
This is a complex issue. Health officials don’t want to scare people off from getting the vaccine, but they don’t want to leave workers without compensation either. Below, we’ll take a look at some of the issues compounding the problem for employers and employees.
Is the Vaccine Mandatory?
An employer can say that, as part of your employment, you are required to get the COVID vaccine. However, what happens if an employee has a disability that makes the vaccine dangerous? In that case, the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) would prevent the employer from mandating the vaccine or retaliating against an employee who refuses the vaccine. Under the law, an employee would have to make a reasonable accommodation to a disabled employee, and not requiring a vaccine that could harm them is the very definition of a reasonable accommodation.
Employers who mandate vaccination may face greater liability than those who don’t. However, how COVID-immunity will play into these types of lawsuits is yet to be known. Further, vaccine immunity prevents companies from being sued for negative reactions to their vaccines. Instead, those injured can file a claim on the vaccine fund managed at the federal level. The process is frustrating. Many employees who have negative side-effects from the vaccine will file claims on their employer’s workers’ compensation policy since it is a requirement of their job. However, it may be difficult for these employees to successfully prove that their illness or injury was related to their employer’s mandatory vaccination requirement.
In other words, employers that require the vaccine may be “more liable” than those that only recommend the vaccine.
The likelihood of a vaccine causing an injury serious enough that a worker would miss a large amount of time is unlikely. Sometimes, a person may have an adverse reaction that is statistically improbable or unanticipated. If this worker misses a lot of work, there will be a question of who is responsible for paying the worker. The worker could file a claim on their employer’s workers’ comp policy, their own disability policy, or the vaccine compensation fund. Regardless, it will take a long time to recover that money.
It remains to be seen if there will be any serious adverse reactions to the COVID vaccine or what mechanisms will be in place to support those with adverse reactions. At present, the situation has the feel of a ball of confusion.
Talk to a Miami Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured on the job and your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer won’t pay, call the Miami workers’ compensation lawyers at Payer Law today to discuss your situation and allow us to build your case to get the compensation you’re owed.