ALL NEWS

Can you be fired for not taking the COVID-19 vaccine?

Dec 8, 2020, 7:12 AM | Updated: 7:24 am

covid-19 vaccine card selfie...

A nurse administers the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Guy's Hospital in London, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020. Many people have been sharing photos of their vaccine card in a selfie meant to celebrate receiving the shot, but the Better Business Bureau says it's a bad idea. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, Pool)

(AP Photo/Frank Augstein, Pool)

EDITORIAL NOTE: ‘Can you be fired for not taking the COVID-19 vaccine?’ is part of our continuing series, ‘The Vaccines: Hope on the Horizon.’ Each day, KSL will break down a different aspect of COVID-19 vaccine development and distribution. Listen to Utah’s Morning News at 7:45 a.m. and to Jeff Caplan’s Afternoon News at 4:45 p.m. daily for the latest. 

SALT LAKE CITY – The COVID-19 vaccine is on track to be available to the public this summer. That has many wondering whether the companies they work for will require them to get it. 

Attorney Spencer Phillips says Utah, like many places, is an “at-will” state. This means employers can fire employees for almost any reason–including refusing to get a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Can you be fired for not taking the COVID-19 vaccine?

Phillips says employers can do this, even if there was nothing in employees’ contracts before about other vaccines or medical procedures. 

It would also be very difficult to challenge this. 

“The only way we might see this eventually end up in court is if there’s a company who is refusing to make exceptions when there is a disability or religious reason for not taking a vaccine,” Phillips says. 

That’s because those two groups are protected by federal law. 

However, Phillips says many people who are fully vaccinated have serious concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine in particular. 

In that case, he encourages them to speak up.

“Explain your rationale and your reasons why you’re not comfortable taking the vaccine yet,” Phillips says. “But…it would still be in your employer’s ability to say, ‘Either you take it or you don’t have a job anymore.’ Regardless of how reasonable the reasons are that you offer for not wanting to take that vaccine.” 

Some jobs are more likely to force employees to get the vaccine than others. 

“For example, doctors and veterinarians and other kinds of people working in places that might be exposing them to various sicknesses,” Phillips says. 

Even so, he’s advising people not to force anything on their employees. 

“Look at what the [Centers for Disease Control] and the state health department are advising about…its effectiveness and any risks,” Phillips says. “I will be telling my clients, ‘This is something you may want to encourage for the health and safety of all your employees’ but not to mandate it.”    


How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronaviruses transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Wear a mask.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A

Utah’s Coronavirus Information

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States

 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

All News

A lone American flag waves in the morning breeze Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2002, at the Bonneville Salt F...

Allessandra Harris

Water may be the solution to saving the salt flats

With the Bonneville Salt Flats eroding, newly discovered research may have found a way to save them.

8 hours ago

pay gap...

Curt Gresseth

Why is the gender pay gap not closing?

The gender pay gap in the U.S. and Utah is not closing. A Utah financial planner details the impact that wage shortfall can have on a women workers over a career.

9 hours ago

kevin and michael bacon performing, they'll stop in utah in June...

Sam Herrera

Kevin Bacon to stop in Utah this summer with Bacon Brothers band

Kevin Bacon and his brother Michael will stop by Utah this June to take part in Lehi's Round-Up concert as the Bacon Brothers band.

10 hours ago

fighter jet...

Sam Herrera

High-altitude balloon intercepted over Utah

After intercepting the balloon over Utah airspace, NORAD found that the balloon didn't pose a threat but said that they would keep tracking it.

11 hours ago

a rending of what a MLB baseball stadium in salt lake would look like...

Adam Small

Utah House committee advances bill aimed to help bring MLB stadium to Salt Lake

Utah residents are excited, and concerned, about the advancement of a bill meant to get a Major League Baseball stadium to Salt Lake City.

11 hours ago

jeff hunt speaks to a class about public access to government...

Amanda Dickson

The public would have less access to government records under proposed law

A bill that tackles public access to government comes after state AG Sean Reyes denied KSL access to his daily calendar.

12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Can you be fired for not taking the COVID-19 vaccine?