September 21, 2009
[efoods]With some hospitals requiring their workers to have seasonal flu shots and even more considering it, a big question looms: Can employers do that?
Like many cutting-edge — and complicated — workplace trends, the answer isn’t a simple yes or no. With so much in life, it all depends on details like whether the shots are job-related and are indeed a business necessity.
“I think they can,” said Andrew Golub, an employment lawyer who represents mostly individuals with Dow Golub Remels & Beverly in Houston, referring to health care providers who are telling their employees to roll up their sleeves.
In Houston, The Methodist Hospital and the Hospital Corporation of America have imposed new mandatory requirements for employee flu shots. However, both allow exemptions for those with medical or religious restrictions.
While both Methodist and HCA said they considered the legal ramifications before rolling out their programs, there’s not much in the way of legal guidance for companies hoping to keep the flu at bay.