When President Biden recently mandated a strict vaccination and testing policy regarding Covid-19, private (and government) employers and employees either jumped for joy or exerted an audible moan. The debate had already begun throughout the United States on whether employers, public or private, could mandate vaccinations and/or periodic testing. The short answer is: Yes.(We could go into a wormhole discussing the legality of this mandate but for the purposes of this article we will only discuss how it will affect someone’s ability to collect unemployment.)
Pre-Employment ConditionsWhen an employer is hiring, there are promulgated “Conditions of Employment.” The prospective employee knows when he or she applies, that they must meet these requirements before being considered for the position. Some examples include:
- Drug and background checks.
- Reliable transportation.
- A specific degree or certification.
Change in Job Conditions (Requirements)An employer (in most instances) has the right to change company policy or employment requirements. In the case of vaccinations, the government is using the health and safety of the employees (and the general public) as its basis. This is generally an acceptable “Change in Job Description” when it comes to unemployment.
On the other hand, if that change is unreasonable, then an employee may be eligible. Some examples include:
- Moving the worksite more than 50 miles.
- Reducing Pay
- Changing working hours
- Changing Certification requirements
A major caveat to the general description above is that each state determines through legislation or case law what is disqualifying and what is not. I will make a bold prediction here and say that States in the Northeast will not relieve employees of this burden while Southern States likely will pass laws allowing those who are unvaccinated, against company policy, to collect unemployment benefits.
It is important to note that each unemployment claim is handled on an individual basis. There will be circumstances that are exactly the same but have different results. We are here to help!
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All articles by Consultech are general and brief in nature to keep the reader engaged. Our articles are not to be used as legal advice in any way.