With recent health scares in the workplace such as Ebola affecting healthcare workers as well as working parents not having children inoculated for measles, such health concerns have brought the issue of vaccinations to the forefront in the workplace. However, such concerns should not warrant employers requiring employees to have vaccinations as a condition of their employment.
This article by TELG principal Tom Harrington was published by The Orlando Sentinel on July 24, 2015. The full article is available as a PDF on our site.
The Front Burner: Mandatory Vaccinations for Workers? No: Companies shouldn’t serve as surrogate parents
The vast majority ofAmericans would agree that all adults — like all children — should have the full complement of medically recommended vaccinations. But permitting employers — absent narrow and well-defined business necessities — to compel their employees to have these vaccinations, as a condition of employment, is neither necessary nor desirable.
The relationship between employer and employee should fundamentally be a simple one — the employee provides reliable and diligent work, consistent with his or her required duties, and the employer pays a fair wage for that work.The employer should not be acting the role of surrogate parent or like some quasi-state entity and expect its employees to do anything in their private life, outside of work, that isn’t part oftheir job.
There are many valid reasons whyCongress and the states have passed no laws requiring adults to be vaccinated. As a democracy, our federal and state legislatures have reflected the will of the people in leaving decisions about vaccinations to the conscience and reason of individual adults. It’s a personal choice,to be made by each adult. We all hope that people will make well-informed decisions, and that decisions about
vaccinations will generally be made based on sound medical advice and with consideration for the greater good of our society.