Colorado Employers Can Legally Require COVID-19 Vaccination and Request Proof
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) – Employers in Colorado can both require workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment and request proof of vaccination.
Colorado Springs attorney Gregory Givens said there are only a few exceptions to the law allowing employers to mandate vaccines.
“One of them is an accommodation for employees with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act,” Givens said. “The second exception relates to religious exemptions.”
It is also legal for Colorado employers to fire employees for not receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. But that’s not a workplace practice that Givens recommends.
“You won’t have a great stable of available employees if you start firing people who don’t get vaccinated,” Givens said. “But there is currently no public policy in Colorado that states that if an employer fires someone for not being vaccinated, that employee can turn around and sue that employer for wrongful termination.”
Givens adds that if an employer requires the COVID-19 vaccination and an employee has an adverse reaction, workers’ compensation could come into play.
A Republican-sponsored Colorado law sought to make it illegal for employers to take adverse action against an employee or candidate based on their COVID-19 vaccination status. Two El Paso County Representatives, Dave Williams and Tim Geitner, voted to keep the bill alive in committee. But in an 8-5 vote, House Democrats voted to postpone HB21-1191 indefinitely.
Since the CDC issued guidelines allowing fully immunized Americans to go mask-free in most situations, many people have wondered how HIPAA applies.
According to recent guidelines from the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, employers are allowed to ask employees if they have been vaccinated and also ask for proof. Asking for proof of a COVID-19 vaccination does not violate HIPAA or similar laws as long as employers do not disclose this information to others.