Vaccine required: Can businesses legally do this? Legal expert weighs in

Coronavirus in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan, (KSNW) – Ascension Via Christi announced all employees must get the COVID-19 shot.

In those instances when an employee may not be able to get vaccinated due to a medical condition or strongly held religious belief, Ascension will provide a process for requesting an exemption. The deadline to get the shot is November 12.

Ascension Via Christi is one of the first in Sedgwick County to require employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine. However, one lawyer specializing in wrongful medical disclosures said there would likely be more businesses doing the same thing.

“I do believe that in an effort to try to push those numbers and get us back to a more average scene of normalcy prior to the pandemic, I would anticipate that employers will require vaccines, and they will be allowed to do so,” said Maureen Brady, a lawyer with McShane & Brady LLC.

While Ascension Via Christi has moved to require mandatory COVID-19 vaccines, other large employers in Wichita are letting employees decide.

A spokesperson for Wesley Health Care said they continue to encourage vaccinations. Textron Aviation said employees are not required to be vaccinated while it offers the vaccine to employees and family members.

Lawyer Maureen Brady said these businesses could require it if they want.

“Kids are required to get vaccinated before they go to school, babies are vaccinated when they are born for certain illnesses, and that includes polio and smallpox and all of the big types of things that have been big pandemics in history,” she said.

Brady said since she specializes in wrongful medical disclosures, she has been getting many calls for legal advice throughout the pandemic. But in a government state of emergency, there is a lot that can be done for public safety.

“Employers can be allowed to do that, but ultimately employers and agencies and governments have been allowed to require vaccines in all types of situations,” she said.

Brady said some laws protect people from getting the vaccine, like the Americans with Disabilities Act and religious exemptions. In those cases, employers have to collect proof if requiring the vaccine.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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