Given the costs associated with the flu, it’s in employers’ best interest to require workers to get vaccinated, right?
Not exactly. There’s no doubt flu season hurts employers. Almost 80% of the workers who got sick last flu season said they still went into work at some point when they were ill.
What’s more, companies ended up forking over more than $10 billion in paid sick days during the 2010-11 flu season.
These alarming stats come from a recent study by the pharmacy chain Walgreen’s.
However, while it’s a good idea to encourage staffers to get vaccinated, requiring them to do so can run afoul of laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and get you in trouble with the EEOC.
Here’s just one example: An employee may have a legitimate religious reason for not being able to get a vaccination, such as rules that forbid certain medical procedures or the use of animal-based products.
Rather than forcing workers to get vaccinated, employers should educate them on the benefits of getting a flu shot on a yearly basis.
Example: Because the virus evolves so quickly, last year’s vaccine may not protect you against this year’s flu strand. In addition, here are some other tips on how to encourage workers to get vaccinate this flu season.