With the CDC easing masking requirements for the fully vaccinated, many employers are looking to bring employees back into the workplace in full force. But, with limited government guidance, many questions remain on how to return safely while protecting employee rights.
1. Can my employer require me to wear a mask, even if I’m fully vaccinated?
Yes—while the CDC and the state have lessened masking restrictions for fully vaccinated individuals indoors, your employer has a right to require you to wear a mask while on their property, even if you’re fully vaccinated.
2. Can my employer require me to prove I’m vaccinated before I return to work?
Yes—employers generally have a right to mandate that employees show proof of vaccination; however, there are some exceptions to the general rule. Under Title VII and the Americans with Disabilities Act, an employer must engage in the interactive process to find a reasonable accommodation for an employee who cannot get vaccinated for health reasons, or who refuses to vaccinate for religious reasons.
3. Can my employer force me to return to in-person work if I have been telecommuting successfully?
Yes—generally, your employer has a right to require you to be physically present in the workplace or you may be subject to disciplinary action. However, for individuals with an underlying medical condition who may have safety concerns about returning to the workplace, continuing to telecommute may be a reasonable accommodation in some cases.
If you have questions about your rights in returning to the workplace, contact us for a free, 30-minute consultation with an employment lawyer.
Rafael E. Lázaro is a founding member of Lázaro Law Group, LLC. With a particular emphasis on sexual harassment, Mr. Lázaro has dedicated his career to improving the workplace.