LABJ Insider: LA employers weigh risks for creative covid-related mandates

LABJ Insider: LA employers weigh risks for creative covid-related mandates

STEPHANIE BARBARAN, temporary editor

In several ways – and at standard California – LA County and the state have led the way with vaccination mandates for indoor events, school staff, health care and home health staff and government employees.

On September 9, President Joe Biden followed suit and announced an executive order requiring all employers with more than 100 workers to require vaccinations or test for the virus weekly. The executive order is expected to affect an estimated 80 million Americans and includes a provision requiring employers to provide paid leave for employees to be immunized.

The president also announced an order to vaccinate all federal construction workers.

But there are still questions about how these requirements are best implemented. Some employers are considering a combination of requirements. Others are considering whether to provide incentives for employees to be vaccinated or punish those who are not.
These decisions can create new legal complications for employers.

Monrovia-based Trader Joe’s was sued last week by an employee who claimed discrimination because of a religious accommodation. Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines, the top airline in terms of passenger numbers at LAX, announced last month that it would charge a $ 200 monthly health insurance premium on unvaccinated employees.

“Before you get creative with your vaccination policy, contact your attorney so you do not go into a violation,” said Allison Scott, an employee of the Los Angeles office of employment law firm Dykema, who will speak during the company’s September. 13 webinar for employers on requirements for vaccines and masks and exemption


Scott added that compensation for Covid tests can be considered part of a benefit plan. Employers need to be aware of California laws that limit what they can and cannot provide in benefit plans.

And employers must also decide what tone to set with their policies.
“I prefer to get clients to steer clear of a criminal issue because it has a negative impression,” Scott said. “Mandates provide a clearer path. Penalties may be an unknown trace. ”

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