Date and Time: On Demand
Leader: Dr. Jim Castagnera, Attorney at Law
Credits: Awarded 1.5 credit hours by HRCI and 1.5 PDCs by SHRM
Price: Download $325 (Share the download with your colleagues)
Audience: HR, benefits, finance, managers and supervisors, IT, CEOs, in-house counsel, etc.


With the increasing availability of the new coronavirus vaccine over the next several months employers are asking how much latitude they will have to: urge their employees to get vaccinated, sponsor programs aimed at promoting employee vaccinations, or to require its employees be vaccinated. This is unchartered territory. The closest parallel we have is the seasonal flu where, while not perfectly clear, employers, with only limited exceptions for health care workers, are discouraged from requiring their employees to be vaccinated, but may encourage or promote through employer-sponsored programs employee vaccinations.

In the case of COVID-19, however, given the nature of the pandemic, the situation may be different. It is uncertain how far employers will be allowed to go in order to satisfy OSHA’s requirement to maintain a safe and healthy workplace. Some employees will refuse to be vaccinated. The EEOC has identified several exemptions to mandatory vaccination requirements. Further, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 permits an employee to refuse to be vaccinated on religious grounds.

There are many unanswered questions: how employers may go about encouraging their employees to be vaccinated, circumstances in which an employer can require an employee to be vaccinated, how to respond to an ADA request for accommodation, to discipline or not discipline an employee who refuses to be vaccinated, how to avoid discriminating against employees who refuse to be vaccinated, how to maintain employee privacy, etc. Please join Dr. Jim Castagnera, as he assists employers to sort through the many and conflicting requirements to develop vaccination policies and procedures which respect the rights of the worker while maintaining workplace safety and productivity.


During this important program Dr. Castagnera will discuss:
• Current federal and state requirements relating to urging, facilitating, or demanding that employees be vaccinated─EEOC, CDC, state requirements
• What can be learned from the example of the seasonal flu. The special case of healthcare workers
• Important vaccination policies and procedures to have in place and what modifications may be required for the pandemic
• Recent updates to the EEOC Technical Assistance Questions and Answers concerning vaccinations and ADA requirements, showing proof of vaccinations, screening questions, etc.
• The OSHA requirement that employers maintain a safe and healthy workplace
• Employee requests to be exempt from the requirement to be vaccinated. Recognized EEOC exemptions and permitted exemptions under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
• If vaccination makes an employee sick, can the employer be sued? Should you seek a waiver?”
• EEOC recognized exemptions from vaccination relating to pregnancy and an existing disability
• Past severe allergic reactions as a reason for refusing to be vaccinated
• CDC guidance relating to persons with life threatening health conditions
• Examples of encouraging and facilitating employees to be vaccinated
• Maintaining privacy rights of employees
• Using the ADA interactive process to determine the type of accommodation that may be required and avoiding claims of discrimination
• How to discipline or not discipline employees who refuse to be vaccinated
• Once employees are vaccinated, can an employer require their workers who are teleworking to return to the workplace?
• Responding to co-worker complaints about employees who refuse to be vaccinated


Dr. Jim Castagnera is an employment and labor attorney with more than 36 years’ experience. He is a sought-after speaker on coronavirus and other HR-compliance topics, an experienced professor, successful author, and accomplished consultant who assists his clients in meeting their current HR compliance challenges with clear and practical solutions. He holds a JD and a PhD from Case Western Reserve University. Following ten years as an employment and labor lawyer with a major Philadelphia law firm, he served for 23 years as in-house legal counsel at Rider University. With 20 published books, mostly on HR-law topics, he teaches HR compliance in Drexel University’s Kline School of Law and is the chief consultant of Holland Media Services, with offices in Los Angeles and Philadelphia.