Can Employers Require Workers to Get Vaccinations? By Dan Atkerson on March 18, 2015

So far in 2015, 170 people in 17 states have been infected with measles, most stemming from a large outbreak at Disneyland. Several of the infected were infants too young to receive vaccinations, as well as others unable to receive a vaccine for medical reasons. Incidence of measles has increased in prevalence due in some part to the increased phenomenon of vaccine refusal.

Employers worried about potentially spreading measles in the workplace may wonder whether they can require employees to get vaccinated, but it is a bit of a murky question. Legally, an employer can tell workers to get vaccinated, but this opens up a risk of lawsuits under federal and state laws.

What Laws Protect Workers Who Do Not Wish to Be Vaccinated?

For example, the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination on medical grounds in the workplace. Religious beliefs that preclude vaccination could also provide grounds for a lawsuit under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The ADA, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) are all meant to protect worker privacy, meaning that even asking an employee about vaccination statuses could open up a discrimination case.

The best way for an employer to protect employees from the spread of contagious diseases is to educate workers on methods to contain disease, like proper hygiene, as well as encouraging workers who do not feel well to stay home.

Atkerson LawDallas Employment Attorney


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Dan Atkerson

Law Offices of Dan A. Atkerson

Dan A. Atkerson has been protecting the rights of North Texas employees for over nearly four decades. He is affiliated with several prestigious legal organizations, including: 

  • The State Bar of Texas
  • The Dallas Bar Association
  • The United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit
  • Texas Supreme Court and all Texas trial and appellate courts
  • Texas federal courts for the Northern and Eastern Districts of Texas

Through aggressive, knowledgeable representation, he has helped clients all over the state reach significant verdicts and settlements. To schedule a consultation at our law firm, request an appointment online or call us at (214) 383-3606.

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