Best Practices For Documenting The Covid-19 Vaccination Status Of Employees – Forbes

Portrait of a restaurant team and their female owner wearing double face protection and badges to ... [+] show their vaccination against COVID-19.

President Joe Biden, speaking at an event today in Illinois, said that despite his recently announced vaccination mandate, he implored more businesses to require employee vaccinations on their own. I know these decisions arent easy but theyre an example, a powerful example. Get vaccinated.

US President Joe Biden gives remarks after touring the Clayco construction site in Elk Grove ... [+] Village, Illinois, October 7, 2021. - Biden traveled to Chicago to promote the importance of Covid-19 vaccine requirements for all workers. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP) (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

The Chicago Tribune reported that,More than 3,500 organizations [and 25 % of businesses] have already stepped up to require vaccinations, and thousands more will require vaccinations in the weeks ahead under Bidens mandate.

Othercompanies are researching and deciding how to document the vaccination status of their employeesor have already figured out that part of the pandemic equation.

A Microsoft spokesperson said they ...are requiring proof of vaccination for all employees and vendors entering Microsoft buildings in the U.S. Last month the company activated a feature on their HealthCheck website so that all employees and vendors who enter the companys buildings in the U.S. can upload proof theyare vaccinated.

A Microsoft logo adorns a building in Chevy Chase, Maryland on May 19, 2021. - Microsoft said it is ... [+] retiring Internet Explorer, the browser it created more than 25 years and which is now largely abandoned as people instead use competitors like Google's Chrome or Apple's Safari. "We are announcing that the future of Internet Explorer on Windows 10 is in Microsoft Edge," the company said in a blog post Wednesday, referring to its other browser. (Photo by Eva HAMBACH / AFP) (Photo by EVA HAMBACH/AFP via Getty Images)

We have an accommodation process in place for employees who have a medical condition or other protected reason, such as religion, which prevent them from getting vaccinated, the Microsoft spokesperson said.

Neal Mills, chief medicalofficerand senior vice president at insurance company Aon,said,Employers are acutely aware of theanticipatedvaccination mandates from OSHAThis would directly impact the thousands of employers who have already activated vaccinate mandates for their workforce.

UKRAINE - 2021/05/25: In this photo illustration, Aon logo of an insurance company is seen on a ... [+] smartphone and a pc screen. (Photo Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Mills saidthat, employers will need to ensure their vaccine verification systemsare dynamic enough to contend not only with the science of the pandemic, but also evolve...with changing definitions of fully vaccinated, OSHA administration requirements, plus an exceptions process for employees with unique circumstances.

Digital tools will[play] an important rolein establishing compliance with these vast requirements. Suffice it [to] say that these largely undefined administrative burdens are still [to] be mapped out by employers, he said.

Kate Bally is the director of labor and employment service atThomson Reuters Practical Law. She said although companies are taking a variety of approaches to certification of vaccination among their employees, common examples include:

Matthew Collins is co-chair of the labor and employment practice at Brach Eichlerlaw firm. He noted that, Mobile phoneapplications confirming vaccination status also are being developed and may be deemed acceptable documentation of vaccination status.Employers that are not subject to a legal mandate to document vaccination status may have more flexibility in what type of documentation to accept. However, it is recommended that they also obtain [other] documentation.

Bally observed that, Determining the best approach requires an understanding of context. Some U.S. states and local governments have passed laws requiring proof of vaccination for specific purposes. Employers are waiting to hear more about the Biden Administrations requirements with hope that this patchwork of mandates and prohibitions becomes simpler. Although that should clarify matters, no one will be surprised to see legal challenges [arise].

DarleneClabaulti is a senior editor for the human resources team at J. J. Keller & Associates. She noted that, Some employers may not be documenting it at all, others may be using a simple checkmark next to the employees name after reviewing vaccine documentation, some may be asking employees to complete a survey (self-attestation), while others may be requiringemployeesto provide vaccine documentation and making copies of it.

For the latter, the vaccine information is to be kept confidential and separate from the general personnel files per the Americans with Disabilities Act. According to an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission representative, if employers mandate that employees display their vaccination status (e.g., pin, bracelet sticker on badge), employees may file a claimregardingsuch confidentiality, she said.

Clabaulti warned that, Not collecting vaccine documentation will reduce the requirement to keep vaccine documentation confidential and might increase trust. Not collecting it might, however, make it more challenging to ensure that employees whodontprovidedocumentation are truly vaccinated and, therefore, know who might need a booster to remain fully vaccinated in the future.

Be AwareOfLaws

Collins of Brach Eichlersaid,As employers collect documentation regarding employee vaccination status, they need to be aware that applicable law may not only require that they maintain records of employee vaccination status, but in somecasesthey may be required to report vaccination data to public health departments or other government agencies, Collins said.

Honor Confidentiality

Under the ADA an employees vaccination status is considered medical information and, like all other types of employee medical information, employers are required to keep the employees vaccination status confidential and must store that information separately from the employees personnel files, Collins noted.

Collins recommended that, Employers should implement policies to [ensure] that documentation and information regarding vaccination status is being collected, stored and, if applicable, reported in a manner that complies with their various obligations under federal, state and local law.

Look OutForForged Documents

Unfortunately, with some employees facing termination if theyare not vaccinated, employers also need to be mindful of the possibility that employees might submit fraudulent or forged vaccination documentation.In fact, criminal charges recentlywere filedagainst a woman in New Jersey whoallegedly soldhundreds of fake Covid-19 vaccination cards, Collins observed.

In this photo illustration,Patient holding Covid 19 vaccinated record card. (Photo by: Joan ... [+] Slatkin/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Control Access

Paul Lopez is a laborand employment attorney with Tripp Scott. He counseled that:

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Best Practices For Documenting The Covid-19 Vaccination Status Of Employees - Forbes

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