Update on Mandated COVID Vaccinations and Unemployment Insurance

April 28, 2021

By: Laura H. Harshbarger and Paul J. Buehler III

As a bonus to Bond’s April 27 webinar about the evolving legal implications of COVID-19 for business, Bond labor and employment attorneys Laura H. Harshbarger and Paul J. Buehler III each recorded a short video to expand on specific elements of the webinar.

Laura discussed mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations. While the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) guidance indicates employers can require their workers to be vaccinated, challenges to workplace mandates have begun to wend through the courts. In one lawsuit, seven employees of Los Angeles public schools asked a judge to overturn the district’s mandatory vaccination rule.

For now, employers who are considering requiring their workers to be vaccinated (which is estimated to be about 10% of businesses) should keep in mind that exceptions must be made for employees who claim they cannot comply because of medical or religious reasons. 

Paul, meanwhile, talked about unemployment insurance, employer experience ratings and unemployment tax charges. At the start of the pandemic, New York State effectively canceled all unemployment charges to employers and paid for them instead out of the state’s general fund. Now, to cover a $10 billion deficit, the state will be increasing employers’ unemployment insurance tax rates anywhere from 2.1% to 9.9%.

The full presentation covered the following topics:

  • Notable Litigation Trends, COVID-Related & Otherwise
  • COVID Vaccination Issues to Keep in Mind
  • Potential Increased UI Charges for Employers
  • Update from Albany

Click here to view the webinar in its entirety or to register for upcoming Tuesday presentations.