Colorado employers can legally require COVID-19 vaccination and ask for proof
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) — Employers in Colorado can both require workers to get vaccinated for COVID-19 as an employment condition and request proof of vaccination.
Colorado Springs attorney Gregory Givens says there are only a couple of exceptions to the law allowing employers to mandate vaccines.
“One of which is an accommodation for employees with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act,” said Givens. “The second exception is religious exemptions.”
It’s also legal for Colorado employers to fire employees for not receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. But it’s not a workplace practice Givens recommends.
“You’re not going to have a large stable of employees available if you start firing people who don’t get vaccinated,” said Givens. “But there is no public policy in Colorado right now which says that if an employer fires someone for not getting vaccinated, that employee can turn around and sue that employer for wrongful termination.”
Givens adds that if an employer requires COVID-19 vaccination and an employee has an adverse reaction, worker's compensation could come into play.
A Republican-sponsored piece of Colorado legislation aimed to make it illegal for employers to take adverse action against an employee or an applicant based on their COVID-19 immunization status. Two El Paso County representatives, Dave Williams and Tim Geitner, voted to keep the bill alive in committee. But in an 8-5 vote, Democrats in the legislature voted to postpone HB21-1191 indefinitely.
Since the CDC issued guidance allowing fully vaccinated Americans to go maskless in most situations, many people are questioning how the HIPAA law applies.
According to recent guidance from the Federal Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, employers are authorized to ask employees if they’ve been vaccinated and also to ask for proof. Asking for proof of COVID-19 vaccination does not violate HIPAA or similar laws as long as employers don't disclose that information to others.