Can employers require employees to get flu shots?

A recent AJC article indicated that the topic of flu shots in the workplace has become a popular topic of discussion at Atlanta law offices. That’s because employers are seeking legal advice about whether or not they can mandate their staff members to obtain flu shots, as the threat of swine flu looms this fall and winter.

Costco wholesale club at Cumberland Mall offerd flu shots today provided by the Atlanta branch Maxim Health Systems. Smyrna resident Donna Watson reacts as Carolyn Kimbrough, LPN, administers a flu shot. Todd R. McQueen, for the AJC.

Smyrna resident Donna Watson reacts as Carolyn Kimbrough, LPN, administers a flu shot. Todd R. McQueen, for the AJC.


According to the article, since Georgia is a right-to-work state, employers can mandate their employees take the swine flu shot — with a few exceptions such as religious beliefs, union contracts and allergies to vaccines — as a condition of continued employment, said Doug H. Duerr, a partner at Elarbee Thompson, Sapp & Wilson in Atlanta.

So far, major employers in metro Atlanta are not considering making the swine flu vaccine mandatory. Instead, they are setting up on-site locations for their staff to receive the flu vaccine, if they choose to do so.

Should employers be allowed to mandate flu shots for their staff members? Would you get a flu shot if your employer asked?

118 comments Add your comment

Danna

October 5th, 2009
9:19 am

NO one should be forced to get vaccines, especially one that is completely unprotected to the consumer. And, no, I would not get a flu shot if asked by my employer.

Jori

October 5th, 2009
9:28 am

While GA may be a right to work state, forcing a vaccine is unconsitutional and I wouldn’t do it. Of course I’ve got enough sense to stay home if I have the flu and most people don’t. That is the real issue, lack of common sense!

Freemason...

October 5th, 2009
9:28 am

ajc is owned by what corporation?…..
Here we go….you drop this little story
in all the papers to test public reaction.
Well add a hell no to your statistics.
Hmmm do you catalog the emails and ip
addresses of all the nos?…..
Wake up America!

Kacy

October 5th, 2009
9:28 am

No, I do not think anyone should be forced against there will to take any shot, especially the swine flu, since there is so little known about the long term and short term side effects. I would quit my job or be fired before I would get a mandatory shot of any kind.

Jim

October 5th, 2009
9:32 am

No! You did not mention employer liability if there are medical side effects from the shot.

Melissa

October 5th, 2009
9:33 am

Hell no. You would have to fire me. It is my choice on if I want a shot that is more dangerous than the actual flu.

Leslie Rand

October 5th, 2009
9:34 am

ABSOLUTELY NOT! Precautionary measures must be taught, rules put in place for handling materials, interaction with others, etc. Flu shots may be encouraged and suggested at the employer level, but ultimately the deecision belongs to the indiviudal (worker).

jimmy johns

October 5th, 2009
9:35 am

Enter your comments hereno they shouldnt…thats not right im not putting that poison in my system

jimmy johns

October 5th, 2009
9:37 am

no ever will i put something in my system that has the swine flu,bird flu and regualr flu in it all at once.

Jennifer

October 5th, 2009
9:39 am

They absolutely should not.
#1 There is no proof they work.
#2 Many people suffer side effects from them, since there is Mercury (Thimerisol) and Sqalene, not to mention other garbage that is harmful in them.
#3 People have even died from taking them.
#4 People catch the flu from the shot. The years I stupidly took it were the only years I got the flu because it weakened my immune system.
#5 Since the news agency’s refuse to honestly report on the flu and other vaccines, everyone should know that the government grants immunity to the flu vaccine manufacturer’s so there is no reason for them to make the vaccines safe because you can’t sue them if the vaccine is unsafe.

Think about it people it’s not worth risking your life or the other side effect, it’s just the flu. Think back to the days before the media created hysteria over it, if you had the flu you were sick for a day or two and that was it, after-wards your immune system was stronger.

Lynda

October 5th, 2009
9:43 am

Enter your comments here

Absolutely not, particularly not H1N1. Mandating vaccination as a condition of employment will cause more harm than good and may be unconstitutional.

Trina

October 5th, 2009
9:47 am

No, I would not get a flu shot – I have never had the flu – any kind of flu – and I am not going to let anyone inject me with the flu virus.

les frnks

October 5th, 2009
9:47 am

Enter your comments here
The answer is implicit in the question by reason of the word, “forced”. It is time for the people of this country to shed their sheep-like attitudes and bring on a second revolution for independence.

Mary

October 5th, 2009
9:51 am

I dont think it should be mandatory but more of a choice I do feel if you work in a medical setting and are exposed to it all the time then yes you should to prevent but if you know you are goin to have a reaction then it should be your choice.
Its funny when you get a flu shot some get flu symptoms following it the next day or so. ( after all you are being injected with a live virus to build your immune system. I am one who get symptoms afterward so I dont think I will be electing the H1N1 shot :)

Jim

October 5th, 2009
9:51 am

ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! Corporate America and the media have no right to even ponder such a question!!!

Steven

October 5th, 2009
9:55 am

Yeah, get the flu shoot or lose your job, what’s after that? Get a tattoo of the company logo on your back side or get fired?

Frank

October 5th, 2009
10:11 am

I am 58, I have never had a flu shot, and I have never had the flu! I can’t even remember the last time I had a cold. I won’t take a drug to do what a heathly imune system should be able to do on it’s own.
It seems the health industry has discovered that all they have to do is use the word “pandemic” and people will line up for their drugs, and they will sell all they can produce.

Gary

October 5th, 2009
10:13 am

a great deal of people dont know is that in the Swine Flu vacine in that in it is the accual swine flu virus, bird flu virus and the regular flu virus. The best way to keep yourself from catching the seasonal flu is to increase your vitaman C intake and get a good amount of sun light and a good night rest.That is how you fight these virus. I would advise anyone reading this article do not do not do not take any of these vaccine. Most people don’t even read the infomation on the bottle of the vaccine. It tells you of all of the side effects and whats in it… We need to educate ourselfs. This is why the word of God says ” My people die because of a lack of knowledge”

Susan

October 5th, 2009
10:14 am

Absolutely not! No one should be able to force anyone to put something in their system that the govenment has come up with – they are all liars and evil people, trying to get rid of thousands of people. Do your research people, and don’t take any shots of any kind that the govenment insists you take!

Adeline

October 5th, 2009
10:17 am

I am faced with this particular problem right now. I am an LPN, I work in a physician’s office. My employer of two years is using my refusal to take the flu vaccine as an excuse to force me out of work. I gave him a note from my doctor as he requested, stating that i am refusing the flu vaccine due to previous reaction to the vaccine. He accepted it, allow me to work for a few days with a face mask, then gave me a note giving me a deadline needing more explanation because according to him the note was not specific enough. He wants lot # and what side effect and whether my reaction was reported. Whether or not the vaccine was administered by my doctor. He is “not firing me” , but I am not allowed to work until then. I’ve checked with the Dept of Labor, and several other Govt offices. No one has any answer for me other than that, Georgia is a “right to work state ” What is wrong with this picture? Everyone should be upset about this. Whether you voluntary take the flu shot or not. Ask yourself, WHAT WILL BE NEXT? What will your employer require of you next in order for you to keep your job

Adrienne

October 5th, 2009
10:18 am

Absolutely not! My employer does not dictate my medical requirements & have no right to come between me & my family doc. As the vac makers have been protected from ANY lawsuits, the jig is up!!!! No vacs 4 me & mine! 1 encephalopathy from vac is enough.

SaveOurRepublic

October 5th, 2009
10:18 am

Of course not! These mercury laced vaccines should NEVER be mandatory. It’s a part of the Globalist Elite’s Malthusian eugenics agenda. Everyone needs to awaken regarding the scam of vaccines! Educate thineselves!

http://drtenpenny.com/vrc.aspx

Professor

October 5th, 2009
10:19 am

@Steven I totally agree. I am not worried about it my company is too cheap to do this there is no way they would ever pay for a flu shot.

Chris

October 5th, 2009
10:23 am

Enter your comments here: Forcing someone to take a medication, which is what a flu shot is, should never be allowed. If we can’t have a say-so about our own bodies, we can’t have one about anything!Besides, if it is forced and someone has a bad reaction, is the company prepared for a lawsuit?

Brian Jones

October 5th, 2009
10:30 am

The vaccines are fine, the procedures have stood the test of time and are much improved since the original polio vaccines. The hysteria, paranoia and conspiracy theories on that front would be laughable if it weren’t so sad. However, I stand by a person’s right to reject medical treatment on grounds of personal convictions. Legality wise, businesses in Georgia can actually do this, but I don’t think that it’s correct to do so.

Millie

October 5th, 2009
10:34 am

Are you kidding me? Is this STILL America? C’mon, people — wake up.

Sher

October 5th, 2009
10:39 am

There is NO data PROVING the flu vaccine is safe or even effective. It is outrageous that someone could be forced to take any kind of medical vaccine or be booted out of their job. Wake up, folks.. BIG BROTHER is here.. Resist, resist, resist and use your brains — and what’s left of the U.S. Constitution.

deinandra

October 5th, 2009
10:43 am

Absolutely NOT. I have never had a flu shot, and do not get the flu. I don’t avoid all vaccines, but will not take something for which my immune system seems to be doing just fine.

Linda

October 5th, 2009
10:43 am

It appears everyone who has responded has the same sentiment NO. Every company has requirements for employement, which each employee follows. The Government has rules and regulations which every US Citizen follows or pays the consequence. There are very few choices an individual can make with a complete free will. Flu shots or any medicine should not be a requirement by employer or by the government. Each person’s system and reactions to medicine is different. Will the government and employers take full responsibility and liability for any reactions an employee may have?

FreeThinker

October 5th, 2009
10:45 am

NO! NO! NO! NO! If required to take it I would quit and consider leaving this country. This is absolutely ludicrous and dangerous!

I'Joni

October 5th, 2009
10:45 am

Not just no, but HELL NO! Forcing people to take the flu vaccine is wrong. Especially when it doesn’t guarantee that you won’t catch the flu. It doesn’t stop irresponsible parents from sending their kids to school sick. It doesn’t stop irresponsible workers from coming to work sick. Thats what needs to stop! Thats what will bring this flu under control! There were several people sniffling on MARTA this morning. I’m just sitting there wondering how many of them were sick, putting other riders and their co-workers at risk. There’s a woman in our department that comes to work sick ALL the time! I’m sure many people have a co-worker that will do this. She came to work with the flu when this H1N1 first started showing up. Last year she came to work with the chicken pox! Both times she felt horrible but tried to “tough it out”. She finally went to the doctor both times to find out what she had, but only after she had been at work for days. The doc said she shouldn’t have been at work at all! How many people did she come in contact with and/or put at risk because of her careless actions??? People need to realize they’re not going to win some medal for coming to work with an infectious disease. Despite what you think, your office can do without you for a couple of days while you rest and get rid of whatever you have. And if the problem is your running out of sick days before you get more, then maybe you need to lead a healthier lifestyle. Another co-worker at my old job used up all her sick days, then got sick again. Well maybe if she took better care of herself during the times when she was well (she was overweight, didn’t exercise, and ate out all the time), she may not have gotten sick and burned through all her sick days. She was the perfect example of being reactive to sickness and disease, not proactive.

Winnie

October 5th, 2009
10:48 am

Every vaccine carries the risk of serious side effects, including death, and none are guaranteed to work. Everyone comes with their own health history which needs to be considered before any medical procedure.

If the point of getting a flu shot is to protect their workers, they should start with protecting them from the vaccine. THAT is the true threat to people’s health. Injecting mercury, formaldehyde, and other toxins is stupid.

Ellen

October 5th, 2009
10:49 am

Enter your comments hereAbsolutely not! You can bet the farm that no one in Congress, and no CEO of any company is taking the shot. When did such a thing as flu season begin? Every year you, months and sometimes a couple years before a so-called flu virus hits, we are warned of it. These viruses are manufactured to reduce the population. God is not giving the W.H.O. and the C.D.C a heads-up on flu viruses so they can run out and manufacture a vaccine for them. No! I would refuse a vaccine for flu, as no one knows what the heck the pharmaceutical companies have put in them, just like the ones causing autism in children. Americans are being overdosed on unknown chemicals in these shots!

Kelly

October 5th, 2009
10:52 am

Employers absolutely should not be allowed to force any employee to receive these shots. Doesn’t anyone remember the ’70’s flu scare and the greater harm caused by the vaccine than by the outbreak itself. Wash your hands, stay home if you have the flu and wear the appropriate clothing – oh and don’t get the shot unless your primary care physician recommends it for you.

DJ

October 5th, 2009
10:59 am

Seeing all of these strong reactions has made my day! I used to feel like I was in the minority in my opinions about vaccines, and I’m glad to see that the number of people who are wary of vaccines is growing. The worst part of the swine-flu frenzy is that pregnant women and infants are being targeted as needing the vaccines the most, when in actuality, infants and unborn children are the most likely to suffer harm from additives, such as mecury-based preservatives.

Chris

October 5th, 2009
11:01 am

It has nothing to do with constitutionality. The constitution and more importantly the bill of rights are only there to limit the government. It very clearly says that Congress may pass no law that does something such as violate or freedom of speech. A further amendment extended that terminology to include state governments. It says nothing about what private individuals and businesses may do with any agreements they form. Your employment is an agreement between you and your employer.

Robin

October 5th, 2009
11:04 am

Absolutely NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!

TJ

October 5th, 2009
11:04 am

Throw another HELL NO on the pile. This is not even what I would consider refusing medical treatment – it is a preventative measure that MAY reduce your risk. I’d hope that the decision-makers of an organization would be smart enough to not jump on the paranoia bandwagon and exercise this benefit of our wonderful Georgia “right to work” system.

Of course, an employer who would force the vaccine probably might not be amenable to workers taking the paid sick time necessary to kick the flu. A required shot would be their attempt at sensitivity. Gotta keep ‘em productive!

Kathy

October 5th, 2009
11:05 am

I do not agree with forced vaccination because this is America and we are still free people. But I agree with Brian,this is paranoia at it’s best.As an RN I have seen the effects of H1N1 on very healthy young people.We have two young women in their 20’s at present that are on ventilators and may not survive.Now that is scary,not a vaccine .As for Jennifer ’s comment on thinking back to the days before the media caused hysteria about the flu,Jennifer look up some history an read about the pandemics that killed millions. Do you think maybe the reason we don’t see this in developed countries today is because of vaccines and the progress of science?

David

October 5th, 2009
11:09 am

Question: Can employers require employees to get flu shots?

Answer: NO

LosingTheLottery

October 5th, 2009
11:13 am

I think the basic point is being missed in this thread: A vaccine is designed to stop YOU catching the virus and spreading it to others. That’s why it is called PUBLIC health. Any vaccine is calculated gamble–there will be some negative outcomes — but for the vast majority of people it keeps them healthy and stops the spread of the disease.

In my view, e all have a moral responsibility — despite any minimal risks — to take the vaccine, just as you have a moral responsibility not to drive drunk and kill others, just as you have a duty to serve the country in time of war.

If you are so opposed to immunizations, drive down to Warm Springs and look at the breathing machines used by Polio patients at the Warm Springs Institute. Polio was largely iradicated through global use of the vaccine.

If you and 20 of your co-workers died or were crippled by H1N1, my guess is that your survivors would be suing your employer for failing to offer the shots and then complaining to the media that the government didn’t do what it was supposed to do to protect the public.

And, BTW, Jim, asking a question like this is precisely the right thing for the media to be doing — challenging the conventional wisdom and educating the ignorant. Kudos to the AJC for asking the question.

joannie

October 5th, 2009
11:14 am

Absolutely NOT!!! Nor should students or anyone else be forced to take them. The fact that this infringes on our constitutional rights should stop your even asking the question!!

Since it didn’t, let me ask why you haven’t given front page space to the dangers of the mercury in the vaccines and the subsequent development of autism, or ever asked what we can do to stop the flu nutritionally?

Many healthcare professionals are suggesting that deficiencies of Vit D (the sunshine vitamin) are the reason for the flu season. The flu shows up mostly in the fall and winter after every one has gone indoors and made it impossible for his body to get enough sunlight to make Vit. D. Studies have shown that getting enough Vit D in supplements can keep you from getting the flu, or can stop it if you do get it. Thus we don’t even need flu shots – and they’re more dangerous than the flu, itself!

Why help the drug companies poison us and subvert our freedoms when you could actually improve Americans’ lives and health by headlining the real news?

Chris

October 5th, 2009
11:18 am

I’ll put it this way. I’m a nurse, I can get a job without a problem. If my employer tells me I must get this vaccination or be fired. I would resign immediately. I wouldn’t want to work for someone who told me I must put a substance in my body or I will loose my job.

If americans thinks there is a nursing shortage now, try forcing nurses to do something they don’t want to, especially injecting some substance into their body they don’t want inside them. The nursing shortage will get dramatically worse if employers try to force this upon nurses.

jef

October 5th, 2009
11:19 am

Put another hell no in your syringe. Are companies prepared to give us paid absences without using our vacation and personel days when we become ill or who knows what ailment, after we take such shot? I’ve never been sicker than after I got the flu shot a few years back. Wash your hands and stay home if sick.

Jen

October 5th, 2009
11:21 am

Are the employers LIABLE if their employee has a bad reaction to the flu shot? Interesting, Georgia’s right to work policy does not mandate sick days or health insurance.

Stephanie

October 5th, 2009
11:28 am

I have copied and pasted Jennifer’s response because it is exactly my response but more concise!
For the vaccine issue know the people you are dealing with in the medical, pharmaceutical, and media professions, and their motives!

They absolutely should not.
#1 There is no proof they work.
#2 Many people suffer side effects from them, since there is Mercury (Thimerisol) and Sqalene, not to mention other garbage that is harmful in them.
#3 People have even died from taking them.
#4 People catch the flu from the shot. The years I stupidly took it were the only years I got the flu because it weakened my immune system.
#5 Since the news agency’s refuse to honestly report on the flu and other vaccines, everyone should know that the government grants immunity to the flu vaccine manufacturer’s so there is no reason for them to make the vaccines safe because you can’t sue them if the vaccine is unsafe.

Think about it people it’s not worth risking your life or the other side effect, it’s just the flu. Think back to the days before the media created hysteria over it, if you had the flu you were sick for a day or two and that was it, after-wards your immune system was stronger.Enter your comments here

Skeptical Jane

October 5th, 2009
11:32 am

To me, this smacks of “bonus sales” to the makers of the vaccines. Fan the flames of hysteria, convince governments of imminent danger and catastrophe, and then shove a “solution” in their face at just the right moment. Contrived and calculating.

A few people dying from a flu is NOT an “emergency,” nor is it an “outbreak” or “pandemic” or anything else. Humans – just like every other species on the planet – get thinned out and culled, and this is but one of nature’s tools.

What’s really unfortunate is that this is always all about money, and not about people…the vaccine only gives a temporary benefit to one particular strain. Keep doing this and your body never learns to withstand the test. Get any other strain, and you’re in a heap of trouble.

No employer has a right to demand that I submit to this farce for the pharmaceutical companies…I am an employee, not a slave. They might be able to dictate work hours, but they can’t force injections on me.

Gakii

October 5th, 2009
11:44 am

NO NO NO!!! Imagine the law suits that could ensue if any mandated employees developed complications?? I would NEVER get the flu shot if my job mandated it. I never have and hopefully never will.

Laurie

October 5th, 2009
11:47 am

I hope no employers mandate that flue shots must be taken by employees. This is borderline forced vaccination and what happened to ‘the patient has a right to refuse treatment’? I am highly skeptical of these flu shots and what else might be contained within them. I have never had a flu shot and I never plan to get one. My husband just got over swine flu and I have had no symptoms. I rarely get sick and don’t trust the flu shot’s safety and possibility of it causing the flu.

Laurie

October 5th, 2009
11:50 am

By the way, “right to hire” state? More like “right to fire” state. Georgia needs to get on the ball and employers need to develop zero tolerance policies to workplace bullying by staff and bosses. Whoever thought up this ‘right to hire’ deal should have been fired.

The government needs to stop creating a pandemic scare about the flu – it comes every year. Basic rule to avoid infections- wash your hands!