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EEOC Urged to Provide Vaccine Incentive Program Guidance

February 3, 2021

On January 20, 2021, President Biden appointed Charlotte A. Burrows as Chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect employers, workers and the economy, employers are seeking guidance from the EEOC regarding the permissibility of offering employees incentives to vaccinate without contravening the federal employment laws enforced by the EEOC, including, but not limited to, the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Over 40 industry groups and organizations, representing employers across the country (including the American Hotel & Lodging Association, Associated Builders and Contractors, the Coalition of Franchisee Associations, the International Warehouse Logistics Association, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Restaurant Association and the National Retail Federation), wrote a letter to Chair Burrows. They requested that the EEOC issue additional guidance clarifying the extent to which employers may offer incentives to employees to encourage them to vaccinate.

The letter stressed the urgency for this guidance, as the legal uncertainty has employers concerned over liability and has made them hesitant to act, especially in light of how wellness incentives have been scrutinized over the recent years.

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