What are my rights if I work in a small hospital and did not receive the flu vaccine?

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What are my rights if I work in a small hospital and did not receive the flu vaccine?

have to wear a mask if I step foot out of my office for anything, I wear a special “badge” on my hospital ID to signifiy that I didn’t get the vaccine. Family members, vendors, mailmen, anyone who enters the hospital is not required to wear a mask. I do not have direct patient care; I work in my office on a computer. If I go to the bathroom, I have to put on a surgical mask so that I don’t “infect” anyone in the hall (there is nothing wrong with me). Family members, visitors gawk at me like I have a terrible disease. No, I just didn’t get the flu shot..that hasn’t been proven effective..and I don’t actually have the flu.

Asked on November 17, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Georgia

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Unfair as it may seem, the fact is that unless you have a medical condition or deeply-held religious belief so that you can be exempted from the mandate of having a flu shot, then your employer can make such a shot mandatory.
Many employees do not realize that most employment relationships are what is known as "at will", meaning that you can work for your employer or not, your choice.  It also means that your employer can impose requirements much as it sees fit and terminate your employment if you do not comply.   Note: You may have protection if it is afforded under the terms of a union agreement or employment contract. Additionally, your treatment must not constitute some form of legally actionable discrimination/retaliation.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, what you describe is legal: employers, especially health care providers (who are required to take steps to reduce/prevent the flu from spreading) can require employees to get flu shots or else take other prophylactic, or preventive, measures. The shot may not have a level of proof of effectiveness that you feel is sufficient, but the law still lets employers require it.


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