Thursday, December 17, 2020

Coronavirus Update 12-17-2020, part 2: The COVID-19 vaccine and race discrimination

One issue the EEOC omitted from its technical guidance on the COVID-19 vaccine is the issue of race discrimination. 

According to one recent study, 57% of African Americans say that they definitely or probably will not get the COVID-19 vaccine. Many point to their distrust of the federal government fueled by decades of medical studies on Black people, including the Tuskegee Experiment, which left hundreds of Black men untreated for syphilis between 1932 and 1972.

If you are going to adopt a mandatory vaccination policy for your workplace (which the EEOC says you can do, subject to reasonable accommodation exceptions under the ADA for medical issues and Title VII for sincerely held religious beliefs or observances), then you must account for the possibility of that policy having a disparate impact based on race. Otherwise, you might be setting yourself up for a potential race discrimination lawsuit.

* Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash