The issue of vaccine injuries has left both employers and employees with a question that may not have a definite answer. With the beginning of each flu season, both employers and employees may wonder if an employer can legally mandate an employee to get a flu shot in order to maintain employment with the company. Clearly, the flu can knock out a large percentage of an entire workforce, severely hampering productivity and day to day operations. So, is it legal for a business owner to adopt a mandatory flu shot policy?
Under most circumstances, it is legal for a business to enforce a flu shot policy. In fact, some healthcare companies have even been known to fire employees who refused to be vaccinated with the flu vaccine. While vaccine injury is rare, there are well documented cases of severe and adverse effects in some people (most notably shoulder related injuries, known as SIRVA); the main reason an employee may object to injecting a live weakened virus into their system. Unfortunately for those employees who have a fear of needles or other aversion to vaccines, an employer can still require a flu vaccine in many cases.
Injuries following vaccine administrations have been on the rise since the federal government began tracking injury statistics in 1988 with the creation of the NCVIA. Recently, our founding partner Max Muller was featured on NBC to discuss the increased number of injuries following a vaccine.
In some situations, getting the flu vaccine is a required precondition of employment. In other situations, it might be within the confines of the law to fire an employee for violating a company’s flu shot policy due to the fact they are an at-will employee; this means they can be terminated for any reason or no reason. Many employers simply encourage employees to receive the shot by paying for the vaccine and having a medical provider come to their location to administer the shot, making it convenient for all.
What about employees who make the legitimate argument that a mandated flu shot violates their privacy rights to exercise control over their body? Their argument is valid and they can refuse the vaccine, however this does not protect their right to work for employers wanting a workforce that is vaccinated. A worker that is not an at-will employee may have the right to refuse the flu vaccine and yet still keep their job, especially if they are a member of a union with specific employment agreements in place that enumerate specific reasons an employee may be terminated.
If you or a family member were adversely affected by the flu vaccine, and are wondering if you may have a claim, it is wise to take advantage of the free consultation offered by our skilled vaccine injury lawyers. My Vaccine Lawyer has represented clients in all 50 states. We have won over $40 million since 2019 alone for more than 3,000 clients. You can view our vaccine injury settlement table here or give us a call today. In addition, you never pay legal fees to be represented by My Vaccine Lawyer for a vaccine lawsuit. Our legal fees are paid by the government through the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.
Page last reviewed and updated: November 3, 2021