It's a question most of us were expecting to happen: Can my boss or company really ask if I have been vaccinated?

Although here at the radio station it has not come up, I have plenty of friends who are starting to be asked the question. If vaccinated, employers are allowing the employee to work without a mask. The pushback is, of course, that is it even legal for an employer to ask?

HIPPA is the first term that gets thrown around. It's also the first thing I thought of when I began to think about the actual answer. I, like most, was sadly mistaken. Quickly, HIPPA is a federal law that prevents a patient's health information being shared without that patient's permission. It governs the information about you being held by hospitals, doctors, and other companies. Basically, it means your healthcare provider can't share information about your health without your permission. Your employer is not your doctor, so that rules out their asking as being a HIPPA violation.

Now, we will get into a very grey area for the next part. As of December 2020, the EEOC, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, says your employer asking for proof of vaccination does not violate any laws or regulations involving the ADA. The only time it could would be if that employer asked why you haven't been vaccinated. With the current ADA guidelines, being asked to show proof of your vaccination does not require you to divulge a disability you could have. If the employer asked why you haven't been vaccinated, then that could lead to the employee having to divulge a possible disability.

On the flip side, the ADA does talk about how the employee cannot pose a threat to the safety and health of individuals in a workplace, meaning if you are not vaccinated, you could infect others around you. If that is the route an employer wants to take, the employer has to show proof of that the unvaccinated employee does pose a significant risk.

So can an employer legally ask for proof? It seems that yes they can, but if you're not vaccinated, they cannot ask why.

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