Updated COVID-19 Guidance for Manufacturers — Employees & Vaccinations

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by | May 20, 2021

With the headlines about vaccinations and COVID-19 safety protocols, Dave Chenevert at the Rhode Island Manufacturers Association (RIMA) and I have been communicating with state officials about what it means for manufacturers.

Below we offer 7 pieces of guidance your team can act on today.

We know you’ll want to know more beyond these 7 notes. Join Polaris MEP and RIMA on June 3 for a webinar, “Legal Aspects of COVID Vaccinations for Manufacturers>.” [WEBINAR RECORDING: https://polarismep.org/videos/covid-vaccinations-legal-aspects/] 

In that webinar, I’ll be posing your questions to employment law experts from Locke Lord — getting you the answers needed to keep your company moving forward.

Dave Chenevert writes:

“I have basically been told what an employer wants to enforce, company guidelines and all safety protocols are at the employer’s discretion for the manufacturing sector.”

7 Things to Know About Vaccinations and Manufacturing Businesses 

1. You can ask about vaccination status and/or to see a vaccination card.
  • According to recent guidance issued by the EEOC, it is permissible for employers to ask employees about their vaccination status — A simple “yes” or “no” question would not be a violation of HIPAA laws.
  • Both the EEOC and the Rhode Island Department of Health (DOH) say you can require proof of vaccination by asking employees to present a copy of their vaccination card. To avoid potential legal issues, you should inform employees that they do not have to provide any additional medical or family history information.

2. Vaccinated employees do not need to wear a mask.

3. Non-vaccinated workers are asked to wear a mask.

  • Enforcement is being directed to the employer’s discretion.

4. Social distancing is no longer a requirement for vaccinated employees. 

5. Social distancing for non-vaccinated employees is at the employer’s discretion.

6. Delivery personnel, sales people, repair personnel and service providers can be admitted at the employer’s discretion.

  • Vaccinated people can enter with mask or no mask; it’s the company’s decision.
  • You may ask to see a vaccination card; per the DOH, this is up to each company.
  • The conditions under which non-vaccinated visitors are admitted is again at employer’s discretion.

7. You can continue asking screening questions of employees and/or taking temperatures, but it is no longer required. This is again left to the employer’s discretion.

Want to know whether an employer can insist their workers be vaccinated, or other insights for your company’s protocols based on this latest guidance? RSVP today for our June 3 webinar.

Polaris MEP’s experienced project managers are available to help in communicating changes or adapting processes.  Email me (kmahoney@polarismep.org) or call (508-523-5498) to talk about how we can support you.

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