Best Practices for Documenting Employee Covid-19 Vaccination Status
Many employers don’t wait for President Joe Biden vaccination warrants to go into effect and now require workers to get vaccinated. Other companies are deciding how to document the immunization status of their employees or have already understood this part of the pandemic equation.
A Microsoft spokesperson said they “… require proof of vaccination for all employees and suppliers entering Microsoft buildings in the United States.”
Last month, the company activated a feature on its Checkup so that all employees and salespeople who enter company buildings in the United States can download proof that they are vaccinated.
“We have put in place an accommodation process for employees who have a medical condition or some other protected reason, such as religion, that prevents them from getting the vaccine,” said the Microsoft spokesperson.
Neal Mills, The Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President of Insurance Company Aon said, “Employers are keenly aware of OSHA’s advance vaccination mandates… This would have a direct impact on the thousands of employers who have already activated vaccination mandates for their workforce. ”
Mills said that “… employers will need to ensure that their vaccine verification systems are dynamic enough to not only address the science of the pandemic, but also to scale … for employees with unique circumstances. .
“Digital tools [play] an important role in establishing compliance with these broad requirements. That it suffices [to] say that these largely undefined administrative burdens are still [to] be tracked by employers, ”he said.
A variety of approaches
Kate bally is Director of Labor and Employment at Thomson Reuters Practical Law. She said that while companies take various approaches to vaccination certification among their employees, common examples include:
- Verbal confirmation of complete vaccination.
- Verbal confirmation of complete vaccination plus an online vaccine card / equivalent.
- Written certificate of complete vaccination, confirming additional details, such as dates of vaccination, manufacturer, accommodation requests, etc.
- Written certificate of complete vaccination and documentation proving that they have received their vaccines.
Matthew Collins is co-chair of labor and employment practice at the law firm Brach Eichler. He noted that “mobile phone applications confirming immunization status are also under development and can be considered acceptable documentation of immunization status. Employers who are not subject to a legal mandate to document immunization status may have more flexibility in what type of documentation to accept. However, it is recommended that they also get [written] Documentation.”
Bally observed that “Determining the best approach requires an understanding of the context. Some US states and local governments have passed laws requiring proof of vaccination for specific purposes. Employers are waiting to learn more about the Biden administration’s demands in the hopes that this patchwork of mandates and prohibitions will become simpler. While this should clear things up, no one will be surprised to see legal challenges ahead. ”
Darlene Clabaultis is an editor for the human resources publishing team at JJ Keller & Associates, Inc. She noted that “Some employers may not document it at all, others may use a simple check mark next to the name of employee after reviewing vaccine documentation, some may require employees to complete a survey (self-attestation), while others may require employees to provide vaccine documentation and make copies .
“For them, vaccine information should be kept confidential and separate from general personnel records in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. According to a representative of the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, if employers require employees to display their immunization status (for example, pin, wristband sticker on badge), employees can file a complaint about this. confidentiality, ”she said.
Clabaultis warned that “failure to collect vaccine documentation will reduce the requirement to keep vaccine documentation confidential and may increase confidence.” Failure to collect them, however, could make it more difficult to ensure that employees who fail to provide documentation are truly immunized and, therefore, know who might need a booster to stay fully immunized in the future. “
Advice to business leaders
Be aware of the laws
Collins of Brach Eichler said, “As employers collect documents regarding employee immunization status, they should be aware that applicable law may not only require them to keep records of employee immunization status, but in some cases , they may be required to report immunization data to public health departments or other government agencies, ”Collins said.
“Under the ADA, an employee’s immunization status is considered medical information, and like all other types of employee health information, employers are required to keep an employee’s immunization status confidential. and must store this information separately from the employee’s personal files, ”Collins noted.
Collins recommended that “employers should implement policies to [ensure] that documentation and information regarding immunization status are collected, stored and, where appropriate, reported in a manner consistent with their various obligations under federal, state and local laws.
Beware of false documents
“Unfortunately, with some employees threatened with dismissal if they are not vaccinated, employers should also be aware of the possibility of employees submitting fraudulent or forged vaccination documents. In fact, criminal charges were recently filed against a New Jersey woman who allegedly sold hundreds of fake COVID-19 vaccination cards, ”Collins observed.
Paul lopez is a labor and employment lawyer with Tripp Scott. He advised that:
- “If an employer requires proof of vaccination and / or obtains information from employees about their immunization status, the employer must limit the number of people who control access to the information and put in place security measures to protect them. information. ”
- “If the information is kept in files, those files need to be secure and segregated so that they can only be accessed by a few key employees. ”
- “If information relating to the vaccination status of employees is uploaded to the employer’s computer network, the employer must also protect [this] information via encryption and / or password protection which only allows a limited number of key individuals to have access to this information.