Disney said Friday it is requiring all salaried and non-union hourly workers in the U.S. to be fully vaccinated in the next 60 days.

Employees who are still working from home will be required to provide verification of vaccination prior to returning to any Disney sites.

The Walt Disney Company announced on Friday that all paid and non-union hourly employees in the United States must be completely vaccinated against the coronavirus by the end of September.

Employees who continue to work from home will be asked to produce proof of vaccination before returning to any Disney property, including theme parks and offices.

Disney stated that it has initiated talks with the unions that represent its other employees, notably those who work at its amusement parks.

“Vaccines are the best tool we all have to help control this global pandemic and protect our employees,” the company said in a statement. “At The Walt Disney Company, the safety and well-being of our employees during the pandemic has been and continues to be a top priority. Toward that end, and based on the latest recommendations of scientists, health officials and our own medical professionals that the COVID-19 vaccine provides the best protection against severe infection, we are requiring that all salaried and non-union hourly employees in the U.S. working at any of our sites be fully vaccinated.”

Full statement below:

Yes, your employer can require you to receive a COVID-19 vaccine
The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has said employees could be barred from the workplace if they refuse the vaccine, but workers do have some options.

Employers can require their employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine and prevent them from entering the workplace if they refuse, the federal government has said, but employers need to be careful about how they handle the process.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency that enforces laws against workplace discrimination, offered the guidance because the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 puts limits on employers making it mandatory that employees receive medical examinations that ultimately reveal private information about an employee’s physical or mental conditions.

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But in a Dec. 16 update to its “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws” guidelines, the commission explained a COVID-19 vaccination requirement does not bring up these ADA issues.

“If a vaccine is administered to an employee by an employer for protection against contracting COVID-19, the employer is not seeking information about an individual’s impairments or current health status,” the commission said, “and, therefore, it is not a medical examination.”

The commission added that requiring an employee to show proof of vaccination is not a disability-related inquiry. “There are many reasons that may explain why an employee has not been vaccinated, which may or may not be disability-related,” the commission said.

Section K.3 of the guidance, however, goes on to state that further questions from the employer, such as asking why the employee did not receive a vaccination or other prescreening questions, “may elicit information about a disability and would be subject to the pertinent ADA standard that they be ‘job-related and consistent with business necessity.’”

Reasonable Accommodations
There are options for employees who can’t get a vaccine due to a disability or who do not wish to get a vaccine. Workers can seek a vaccine exemption on medical grounds or due to religious beliefs, said Dorit Reiss, a law professor at the University of California, Hastings, who specializes in legal and policy issues related to vaccines.

Reiss said that if employees have medical reasons or sincerely held religious beliefs that prevent them from receiving a vaccine, employers may be required to give the workers a reasonable alternative to continue to work. Also, the EEOC guidance said that even if an employer finds that a worker who cannot be vaccinated poses a risk to the workplace, the employer cannot prevent the employee from working or fire them unless the employer cannot provide a reasonable accommodation that would reduce this risk to others.

“That might be a [wearing a] mask, a working from home, or a working separately from other people alternative. As long as it’s not too significant a barrier for the employer,” Reiss told the AARP Bulletin. “If you can achieve the same level of safety as the vaccine via mask, or remote working, you can’t fire the employee. You need to give them accommodation.”

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The vaccination issue is sure to come up more often as doses become available for the wider public in 2021. While a recent USA Today story cited how two separate studies of American’s willingness to get vaccinated yielded opposite results, a CNBC|SurveyMonkey Workforce Happiness Survey taken before the EEOC’s guidelines showed that 57 percent of 9,000 workers polled said they would support a requirement that everyone at their workplace or office receives a COVID-19 vaccination.

And in Convene’s most recent COVID-19 Recovery Dashboard, only 32 percent of 375 meeting professionals responding and 38 percent of the 179 suppliers said they would require attendees and staff members to show proof they have received a coronavirus vaccination to gain entry into future face-to-face events.

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