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

BONNIE

October 6th, 2009
11:26 am

Enter your comments here TO DAVID….EXACTLY WHAT RIGHTS MIGHT I HAVE THAT OTHER PEOPLE WHO ARE LEGALLY IN THIS COUNTRY WOULDN’T HAVE? AS A LONG-TIME RIGHT WING REPUBLICAN … FOR WHICH I WILL NOT APPOLOGIZE … I AM TOTALLY AMAZED AT YOUR COMMENT … AND WANT TO KNOW WHAT RIGHTS ARE BEING DENIED TO AMERICANS ACCORDING TO WHAT GROUPINGS? WE ARE ALL LOOSING RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS EVERY DAY …. THANK YOU LEFT WING LIBERALS!

PublicHealthProfessional

October 6th, 2009
11:40 am

I do think that employers should be able to mandate vaccinations for their employees. It’s nothing new. Kids have to get several vaccinations to attend school. Health care workers have to get Hep B and chickenpox vaccinations to find employment. Travelers have to get yellow fever and other vaccinations before stepping foot in many countries. This is all done for the sake of public health. We are not trying to keep one person from getting sick. We are trying to keep one sick person from infecting entire communities (or places of business, in this case). It’s called herd immunity. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herd_immunity

-lenor

October 6th, 2009
11:54 am

Enter your comments here
No. Absolutely No. We have lost enough rights since 2001. Besides this I would not want to be a guinea pig for some new vaccine. Prevention is better than cure. If one would work on improving one’s health the immune system would get a boost and most outbreaks would be avoided.

Shanteeza

October 6th, 2009
3:02 pm

Employees should not be required to get a flu shot. If anything a employer should be required to keep a cleaner enviroment for their employees.

muhammad

October 6th, 2009
3:40 pm

No one should be forced to get vaccines it’s violation of the constitution

Trisha

October 6th, 2009
9:15 pm

I have already gotten a flu mist this year, i made sure my whole entire family did as well too (if not the flu mist then the flu shot). Its not right to “require”….so the words should be “recommended”. I work in a Pediatric office. One of the doctors has seen 200+ H1N1 flu patients in almost 2 months. I’m not sure about the other two in the practice i’m at. Before i worked in a pediatric office, i worked in retail. You can catch whatever the customers are bringing in to get their prescription or just to shop around the store.

I think people should get the H1N1. As a healthcare worker I will be getting it when I can. I’m not going to risk myself, my family, or others around me getting it. My mom works in an Internal Medicine practice and she’s gotten the flu shot. My father is disabled and has gotten the flu shot. My sister in high school and my fiance both have gotten the flu mist. I bring home germs being in my office and so does my mom being in hers. The doctors in my practice are going to be getting it and so will all the employees at my office will. Its “recommended” by the company that my office is under.

Rick

October 7th, 2009
7:15 am

Absolutely not! No one should be required to get a flu shot. They don’t work half the time because you never know what strain is out there and H1N1 is not any worse than some of the other Flu’s out there…

That being said, we need to be responsible to our co-workers though folks. Know what the symptoms are and dont go to work/school if you are sick.

.:Rock:.

Denise

October 7th, 2009
11:48 am

Enter your comments here
Absolutely not!!!!! This is America. I have the right to determine whether or not I want a Flu shot. Employers better think about the liability if one of their employees has a severe allergic reaction, or worse yet dies and they did not want the vaccine. I was around for the 1976 Swine Flu Vaccine and remember all of the problems with it such as Guillen Barre Syndrome and death. I didn’t take it then either because I was pregnant: my husband did and boy was he sick. The AJC just interviewed the doctor who was in charge of the CDC in 1976. He resigned in disgrace at the time and guess what? He said that he would NOT take the vaccine today, “since he is not in a high risk group.” Yeah, right!

DeVine

October 7th, 2009
12:21 pm

Hell to the NO! it’s funny how the fed gov can pull a vacine out of there you know what, but can’t find a cure for AIDS, but already have one for H1N1 just like that. But for those of you who don’t know H1N1 has been out scince the 70’s just like AIDS. People of America wake up the fed gov is killing you AIDS (Animals In the Digestive System) Stop eating all of this FDA approved meat.
peace2fingers

ricardo quintero

October 7th, 2009
8:24 pm

Enter your comments here is this a joke, what is next ?

Gary Higgins

October 8th, 2009
6:47 am

Right To Work is a piece of legislation that speaks to employers mandating union membership as a condition of employment.
It does not to my understanding state that an employer can enforce things (such as mandatory vaccinations) as a conditions of continued employment.
Please show me how my interpretation is incorrect.

Kimberly

October 9th, 2009
1:52 am

No, I don’t feel it is right to make anyone take a flu shot if they do not choose. Last time checked I live in the land of the free. We have right’s here in the good old United States Of America, or did the White House take that right away without telling any of us. What good is a Declaration of Independence or the Bill of Rights if we cannot choose what we want to do with “OUR” own bodies. Whats the point of having our Soldiers over there fighting for our freedom and our choice of rights if we cannot have them. The government puts all this stuff on T.V. just to brain wash us and never puts the truth about whats really going on. I agree with the other comment WAKE UP AMERICA!!!! Are we that stupid and that easy to brain wash???? We pride ourselves on “our” rights and freedom but what rights and freedoms do we really have anymore.

Muhsinah

October 9th, 2009
5:48 pm

If we could just get the sick people to stay home. So many come to work when they are contagious and they know it. I have not gotten the flu every since I started taking flu shots. It has been recommended by my physicians that I get the shot since I am in a high risk group.
Even with the shot, I am still worried about those persons who know they are ill and come to work.

laquanda

October 12th, 2009
12:11 pm

unfortunately…us military service members have no choice..its mandatory..now for the swine flu..i dont know. i will fight to refuse it though cause we dont know its compications

RN

October 17th, 2009
8:31 pm

Replying to an earlier post: We’re supposed to be impressed by our generous, caring government providing the H1N1 vaccine for FREE!? Gee, I wonder where the government got the money to afford that……………………. Guess I should consider myself lucky to live in a country where the government takes nearly half of every paycheck I earn, and then returns part of the money to me in the form of a (potentially mandatory) vaccine shot in the arm? Maybe the Government could give me a tattoo on my wrist, too………

AnotherHealthProfessional

October 24th, 2009
9:07 pm

To PublicHealthProfessional, that’s untrue about being required to get HepB or chicken pox vaccines to find employment. You sign a waiver. At least in my world. And I’ve been a nurse for 15 years. I’m a strong advocate of patient rights, so I guess that spills over into EVERYONE’S rights for me. I will NOT be getting this vaccine, I have very clear memories of the previous hysteria, and the outcome. Should my employer decide that my job requires I get this (I never get the flu shot and have NEVER EVER had a problem, whereas many of my co-workers have after getting one), my resignation would be in before the end of the day. And they should really try actually doing blood tests on people before dx’ing H1N1. But the Wise and Wonderful CDC doesn’t want them to do that anymore. It’s a “waste of resources” and the assumption is sufficient because “there’s a pandemic.” Scary? Absolutely. Surprising? Not at all.

Donna

October 26th, 2009
8:36 pm

Well the flu shot should be up to the person. If the shot is not avaible in your state or area yet and everyone is getting sick how do you stop it? They tell you to stay home. Tell that to the employers. When you going to lose your job if you dont come in what do you want people to do. They have to have there jobs. Companies are making this difficult for people who are sick already. What choice do they have.

Joel

August 16th, 2010
9:18 am

The Swine Flu is a Hoax & the Vaccine is Poison, Educate Before You Vaccinate.

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