Can employers require you to be vaccinated?

Coronavirus

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WJZY) – Can vaccines be required by employers? There is a lot of confusion in the Carolinas since the CDC changed its guidelines last week.  

Overall, rules on vaccines and masks are left to employers, the state and the county governments. Part of the confusion in the Carolinas is due to leaders and lawmakers taking different positions. 

Governor Cooper is following the CDC recommendations from indoor masking to requiring vaccines of state employees. 

Whereas South Carolina governor McMaster has not changed his position leaving it up to parents and businesses to decide for themselves. He said he will not wear a mask because he had COVID and has been vaccinated. 

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld an employer’s right to require vaccines in the 1905 case of Jacobson v. Massachusetts. That case involved a challenge by a local pastor during a smallpox outbreak when the U.S. Supreme Court held employers could order vaccines 

Justice John Marshall Harlan wrote in the opinion “a community has the right to protect itself against an epidemic of disease which threatens the safety of its members.” 

Public safety always supersedes individual liberties. 

President Biden issued an order that every federal employee and on-site contractor must show proof of vaccination status or suffer the consequences which are:

  • Mask on job in all geographic locations
  • Physically distance from other employees and visitors 
  • Weekly or twice weekly screening tests requirement
  • Restrictions on official travel

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