The District of Columbia Hospital Association has announced that virtually all hospitals in their system will require their employees to receive vaccinations for COVID-19. This will result in most healthcare workers in Washington DC either accepting the vaccine or facing a deadline until their employment will be terminated.
DC’s hospitals are joining a growing number of health care employers with the same requirement nationwide. Several other systems, including Indiana University Health, University of Pennsylvania Health System, and the Houston Methodist hospital system, already have announced they will require the vaccine as a condition of employment.
Despite the growing number of organizations instituting such restrictions, these vaccine mandates are not without controversy, as demonstrated by more than 100 Houston Methodist hospital system employees who filed a lawsuit protesting the policy. Though a judge ruled against these workers, employers should be ready for potential protest from employees if they make vaccination mandatory.
However, mandatory vaccination policies have been permitted by the EEOC. Employers must still provide reasonable accommodations for employees who decline the vaccine because of religious or medical reasons.