A Note on Requiring COVID-19 Vaccines

With COVID-19 vaccinations underway and widespread availability in sight, many employers want to know whether they can require their employees to get the vaccine.

While recent EEOC guidance implies that they expect many employers to require a vaccine, there are already several states where bills are being introduced to prevent employment discrimination against those who refuse a vaccine (MN, NJ, SC), and it’s likely bills like this will be introduced in more states soon. Additionally, we anticipate that there will be state and federal lawsuits from individuals, which may result in rulings that impact the law in individual states or entire circuits (for instance, the Ninth Circuit, which covers AL, AR, CA, HI, ID, MT, NV, OR, WA, or the Eleventh Circuit, which covers AL, FL, GA).

Given the legal risks here, and since many Americans will not have access to a vaccine until Spring or even Summer, we believe it would be prudent for most employers to wait to see how things play out in courts and legislatures across the country before deciding to require vaccinations.

Be Alert: Employers Are Seeing a Spike in Phishing Scams

Phishing emails are a type of scam designed to obtain information or prompt certain behavior from their targets. To that end, they typically appear to come from a person or entity we trust.

In most cases, careful inspection will reveal cracks in the façade, little signs that the message is not what it purports to be. But, of course, most of us don’t thoroughly analyze every email we receive from a colleague or supervisor. When we get an email from our CEO, Lizzy Beth, we don’t hover the mouse over her contact card to verify that the message came from her actual company email and not brice@sneaky.scam. We see the email, assume Lizzy Beth wants us to send her the requested information, and send it.

A successful scam can be a costly data breach with legal consequences. Businesses are generally required to take reasonable precautions to protect personal information in their possession. In the event of a breach, many states require that notice be given to those whose information was compromised. This notice might need to include the cause and nature of the data breach as well as what protections are afforded to those affected.

One of the best ways to protect your company from these sorts of scams is to have a policy and practice of never emailing sensitive employee information. The language below may serve as an effective reminder:

“Employees should not under any circumstance email sensitive employee information such as W-2s, benefit enrollment forms, completed census forms, or anything with social security or credit card numbers. Email is inherently insecure, and scammers may pose as company executives or employees to steal information. If you receive a request to email any such sensitive information, do not respond to it. Instead, inform your manager immediately.”

You can help protect your organization by giving employees examples of the kinds of emails and other communications (texts, calls, etc.) that are likely suspicious. Here are a few:

  • A notice from your email provider suggesting you change your password.
  • A message from the IRS asking you to click a link, open an attachment, or provide information.
  • A message asking you to click a link to pay fines or penalties.
  • A request for W-2s or payroll records.
  • A request for names, birth dates, home addresses, salaries, and social security numbers.
  • A request for contact information.
  • A request to purchase gift cards and email the sender the card numbers.
  • A request for login information.
  • A communication with glaring typos.
  • A communication that says “EMERGENCY” in the subject.
  • A LinkedIn connection from someone you don’t recognize even though they purport to work at your company and have connected with some of your colleagues.

HR Tip of the Month
In the past year, many employers who would never have considered a remote work arrangement discovered that it was not only possible, but in some (or many) ways preferable to how they worked before. As a result, many employers plan on maintaining a remote workforce in some form once the pandemic is over. There’s a lesson here for all employers: the standard way of doing things is not necessarily the only or best way to do things.

As you begin the new year, it might be worth examining your HR practices and asking yourself whether the way you do things is really the best way, or just the comfortable, easy way. Look especially for areas where you’re setting unnecessary restrictions on yourself or your employees.

Job postings, for example, often have requirements that could be tossed with no loss, but a lot of gain. Does someone really need a four-year degree to do an entry level admin job? Or knowledge of how to use certain productivity tools, which can realistically be learned in a matter of hours? Restrictions such as these may be limiting your applicant pool. Other old habits may be losing you productivity and profit.

News Brief
Minimum Wage Increases
Minimum wages increased today in multiple locations across the country. You can find these changes on the HR Support Center on the News Desk under the Learning tab or on the Minimum Wage Map under Tools.

Contact Us

Cincinnati Benefit Solutions

4472 Bridgetown Road
Cincinnati, OH 45211

Phone: (513) 661-1114
Email: staff@inscbs.com
Visit us online

Share This