Recently, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its COVID-19 technical assistance to answer employer questions about whether or not business owners may lawfully offer incentives for employees who take the COVID-19 vaccine and other issues.
Earlier this year, the EEOC put forward proposed rules designed to clarify the breadth of incentives business owners may offer employees though employer-sponsored wellness programs without violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).
One of the rules would allow employers to offer employees only “de minimis” incentives. “De minimis” is Latin for “of minimum importance,” and refers to something that is so minuscule or small that the law does not refer to it and will not consider it. The agency’s guidance left many business owners wondering about the permissibility of their vaccine incentive program, prompting the EEOC to update its recommendations.
“Very large incentive”
The recently released guidance states that employers who administer vaccines to their employees may offer incentives for employees to be vaccinated, as long as the incentives are not coercive. According to the EEOC, “Because vaccinations require employees to answer pre-vaccination disability-related screening questions, a ‘very large incentive’ could make employees feel pressured to disclose protected medical information.” Unfortunately, the EEOC does not offer indication regarding what “very large” means in this context.
The EEOC provided further guidance related to other vaccine questions:
Help is available
Business owners with questions regarding COVID-19 vaccine incentive programs may call an O’Reilly Rancilio attorney at 586-726-1000 or visit our website at www.orlaw.com.