More companies requiring COVID-19 vaccinations, but is it legal? Local attorney explains

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KANSAS CITY, Mo.– From hospitals, concert venues, to restaurants, more and more places are mandating their employees get vaccinated.

But a lot of people are asking FOX4 if that is legal.

“For employers it’s really the public safety and public health and employers have a lot of discretion what applies in the employers workplace,” said Attorney Bill Martucci. “The Equal Employment Opportunity, EEOC, has said that’s acceptable. The general proposition is an employer may mandate there be vaccines.”

The list of companies around the metro is growing, from Truman Medical Center, to Jackson County employees.

The Department of Veterans Affairs was the first Federal agency to announce a COVID-19 mandate for employees.

Federal guidance has supported employer rights given exemptions, those accommodations need to be made for disability or religious excuse.

“Frankly the exceptions are such to be looked at very carefully on a case-by-case basis, it really is going to depend on each given circumstance,” Martucci said.

It’s not just employers putting their foot down for workers, but customers, too.

“We think it’s the right thing to do, we think it’s the moral thing to do,” said Managing Owner of Hamburger Mary’s Jeffrey Edmondson.

Hamburger Mary’s and Woody’s in Midtown Kansas City are both requiring customers to show proof of vaccination to enter their establishments.

Improv KC, a local comedy club, is doing the same, posting this on Facebook saying its’ vaccination requirement will allow all performers to be on stage without masks.

“Where does It stop? Many are concerned about kind of that balancing, but frankly, the balancing is really for the courts to decide,” Martucci said. The courts have been very comfortable that this is a meaningful, global, public safety and health issue.”

Martucci said you can expect for a lot of other businesses to follow.

The first COVID-19 vaccine was approved for emergency use in December of 2020, all COVID-19 vaccines are expected to be fully approved by the FDA by the end of 2021.

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