Client Alert - New Federal & State Rules on Employees and the COVID Vaccine

By Sharon Stiller, Rachel Gold, Justin Kelton and Maureen Bass

Labor and Employment Compliance Alert:

New Federal and State Rules on

Employees and the COVID Vaccine

Last week both the State and Federal Governments took action concerning COVID vaccinations and the workplace.

On the Federal front, the EEOC confirmed that employers may mandate that employees be vaccinated. While that mandate might have to be weighed against a worker’s religious beliefs or medical concerns, an employer only needs to make the exception if to do so does not pose an undue hardship for the employer’s business. Employers must make sure their rules and accommodations are applied equally to everyone, but they may require those workers who do not get the vaccine to wear a mask, even if the requirement is lifted for the rest of the staff.

On the State side, guidance issued by the Labor Department clarified that employers must allow employees to use accrued sick leave to recover from any side effects from getting the vaccine. This leave is in addition to the 4 hours of paid leave to which every employee is entitled to get the vaccine. And stay tuned later in the week, when the New York HERO Act begins to take effect. The new law will mandate, by industry, new safety and health protections in the workplace including the development and distribution of an “airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plan”.

Even with the bulk of the COVID crisis behind us, the repercussions for employers and the workplace continue to develop. Please let us know if we can help you with the challenges you’re facing.


Sharon P. Stiller, Esq.

160 Linden Oaks, Suite E

Rochester, New York 14625


Rachel Demarest Gold, Esq.

3 Dakota Drive, Suite 300

Lake Success, New York 11042


Justin T. Kelton, Esq.

1 MetroTech Center, Suite 1701

Brooklyn, New York 11201


Maureen T. Bass Esq.

160 Linden Oaks, Suite E

Rochester, New York 14625