Author: susansachs

The answer is “Yes” with some exceptions.  Your employer must consider the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA’)  and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII).  Both of these statutes are complex.   They protect against workplace discrimination based on disability or religious belief.  What follows is a  summary of those statutes and how they relate to Covid-19 vaccinations.  This is not intended to be legal advice.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency that enforces civil rights laws against workplace discrimination.  It has published guidance on covid-19 relating to employment.  In December of 2020, it added a section (K) that directly addresses the vaccine.  Written in Q & A format, it is a good resource:  https://bit.ly/3nvFtSB

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Almost every week I get a telephone call from someone in a state of shock who has been terminated from their job and they want to know if their firing was lawful. In most instances it probably was legal, because of the doctrine of “employment at will.” But there are important exceptions.

“Employment at will” means that a person can be fired for any reason, no reason or even a mistaken reason.  The justification for this principle is that the employee can quit for any reason or no reason.  Neither party, employer or employee, is forced to stay in an employment relationship with the other.  In real life, however, this supposed reciprocity is far more harmful to employees than it is to employers.

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If you are an attorney practicing in the area of ERISA disability litigation,(or even if you are not an attorney) you may want to read the recent decision by the First Circuit in McDonough v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., 2015 WL 1684079 (April 15, 2015)  It is instructive in several respects.  First, the case illustrates a common situation that insurers use to deny or terminate benefits.  Second, and more importantly,  the court clarified the insurer’s obligation when it evaluates a claimant’s “own occupation.”

The claimant, Joseph McDonough, worked in a high-level, high-pressure position as a Senior Analyst III, in the information technology department of Biogen, Inc.   In that position he provided support to the server infrastructure of this global company.

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Workplace bullying is a common occurrence in the United States.  It can be found in all types of workplaces, such as schools, hospitals, nonprofits organizations, government, restaurants, and corporate offices.  No workplace is immune.   Perpetrators and victims come from all walks of life — doctors, nurses, managers, school teachers, minimum wage earners, lawyers.   No one is immune from being bullied.

I frequently receive telephone calls from persons who say they are being bullied at work and want to know what they can do about it.  All too often there will not be a legal remedy because bullying is not illegal in any state.  Bullying does not violate any State or Federal laws.

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A client, K, came to me because he was notified that his $200,000.00 life insurance policy had lapsed.  He had paid the premiums, on time, for the past 30 years and could not understand what had happened.  K and his wife spent months making telephone calls and getting nowhere.  Finally, the company told him he had to reapply, but by the time he reapplied he had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and was turned down.

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