Employers May Offer Vaccine Incentives

Updated EEOC guidelines note that EEO laws do not preclude employers from offering incentives to employees who voluntarily provide proof of a COVID vaccinations. Vaccination information must be kept confidential and remain in compliance with all federal disability laws and other protections against discrimination.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated guidance regarding COVID-19 vaccine incentives on May 28, 2021.  The guidance clarifies that EEO laws do not prevent or limit employers from offering incentives to employees to voluntarily provide documentation or other confirmation of vaccination obtained from a third party, such as a pharmacy, health care provider or a public clinic.

Employers must keep vaccine information confidential to comply with federal disability law and ensure that the incentives are not so large as to be considered coercive.  The commission noted that, “Because vaccinations require employees to answer pre-vaccination disability-related screening questions, a very large incentive could make employees feel pressured to disclose protected medical information.”

Visit What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws | U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for details. 

The EEOC also published a fact sheet for workers informing them of federal laws that can protect against discrimination during the pandemic: Federal Laws Protect You Against Employment Discrimination During the COVID-19 Pandemic | U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.