EEOC says companies can mandate vaccines for employees

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ATLANTA, Ga. (WJBF) – With Georgia’s curve flattening, many employers are looking at safe ways to bring people back to the office after working remotely for more than a year.

But going back-to-the-office is also sparking debates about vaccines and masks in the work place.

The equal employment opportunity commission says companies can mandate that employees get vaccinated.

Dr. Monica Gandhi said,”Employers should give people time off work and paid time off work after the vaccine if they don’t fell. Second is vaccines into work places so people can get them.”

A recent Fisher Philips survey says 4 out of 5 employers are encouraging but not enforcing vaccines through incentives like gift cards or paid time off.

DR. Ben Lopman, Professor of Epidemiology and Environmental Health at Emory University said,
“Having stricter guidelines in the work place about mask wearing, mandating masks, keeping social distancing, adding plexi glass if there’s lots of face to face interaction are all the ways to act reduce transmission.”

Economists predict some industries like retail and hospitality will return ,while others like tech and consulting may adopt a hybrid work model.

Tom Smith, Finance Professor at Emory says, “Some companies can’t work remotely. A lot of companies that spending tens of thousand dollars  on office isn’t necessary.”

“They can reduce density, better air flow like doors and windows open and reduce transmission. Spreading the desks out,” said Dr. Lopman.

Companies may also stagger remote and in-person work days, so that not everyone is back at once.

Health experts say employers can offer on-site vaccinations but must keep personal health records confidential because of HIPPA.

If you do have to go back, the CDC says avoid sharing desks, phones and office spaces and wipe down surfaces, mask up, and stay six feet apart.

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