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Can Your California Employer Ask For Your Vaccination Status?


As people are getting used to life with COVID-19, vaccinations, and daily updates about new variants of coronavirus, an increasingly hot-button issue is becoming whether an employer can ask employees for their vaccination status. In other words, can your employer require proof of vaccination in California?

Requiring COVID-19 vaccination for employees is becoming more and more widespread in California, as well as other states. But what is the law when it comes to employers asking employees for their vaccination status?

If you believe that your employer has violated your rights by making you get a COVID vaccine or demanding proof of your vaccination status, contact a Los Angeles employment law attorney right away.

Can Employers Ask for an Employee’s Vaccination Status?

Yes. On June 17, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board adopted new rules requiring employers to document which employees are vaccinated and which are not vaccinated.

But does it mean that employers can ask for an employee’s vaccination status? The answer is also “yes.” What’s more, asking for an employee’s vaccination status or proof of vaccination does not constitute a violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which protects certain health information of patients.

However, if your employer fails to keep your health information confidential, they may be held responsible for a HIPAA violation.

What Are California Employers Required to Do Under the New OSHA Rules?

The rules adopted by the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board include the following provisions:

  • Employers must document an employee’s vaccination status if a fully vaccinated employee does not wear face masks indoors
  • Employers are required to make testing for COVID-19 available for unvaccinated workers who have symptoms of coronavirus
  • Employers are required to make testing for COVID-19 available for vaccinated workers who have coronavirus symptoms after contact with a COVID-19 case during their high-risk exposure period

If you believe that your employer has overstepped their boundaries, do not hesitate to contact a lawyer to determine whether your rights have been violated.

Can Your Employer Fire You for Your Refusal to Vaccinate?

The short answer is that question is also “yes.” California employers can lawfully require employees to get vaccinated and can fire them if they refuse to get the vaccine. The only exception is if the employee has a disability or religious beliefs that prevent them from getting the vaccine.

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers requiring vaccination against COVID-19 must prove reasonable accommodations to those who have a qualifying disability that prevents them from getting the vaccine.

Depending on the industry and the employee’s job duties, reasonable accommodations may include wearing a mask, remote working, social distancing, and several others. If your employer fired you for your refusal to get the vaccine, speak with an attorney to determine if the firing constitutes wrongful termination.

Schedule a case review with our employment lawyer at Litigation, P.C. to talk about your case. Call 424-284-2401 today.


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