Challenges Behind Employer Vaccination Mandates
It’s a sad reality that the pandemic has not only taken so many lives but has also created some division in our country. Everyone has their own opinion about everything Covid-related, masks and vaccines included. Some people are excited to get vaccinated, others are hesitant, and for others, it's a hard pass. Now, more and more businesses are mandating vaccines, giving employees two choices: get the vaccine or get a new job. Opinions are all over the spectrum on this topic.
Nothing has been easy since 2020 when Covid-19 rocked the world, and as a country, we are still figuring out how to get back to work, school, and some sort of normalcy. Job vaccination requirements make this more challenging, and here’s why:
Employer Vaccination Mandates May Create A Divisive Workplace
Company culture is so important to efficiency and productivity in a workplace. The way people feel at work and about work is directly linked to how well they perform. People want to work somewhere that feels organized and well-managed, and want to feel like they are a vital part of a team. When employers start vaccination mandates, it immediately creates a division; an us vs. them scenario that is not conducive to creating an inclusive work environment.
Now, people’s private medical decisions come out for everyone to know, and can lead to employees feeling angry, left out, and isolated. Eventually, a vaccine mandate requires employees to make one of two choices: submit to a medical intervention they don’t want or lose their job. This will undoubtedly add to workplace stress and tension, which can lead to increased turnover and decreased productivity.
The Definition Of “Fully Vaccinated” Can Change
There will be many employees who agree to the vaccination mandate to save their job. Some will do it willingly, others will do it as a last resort and a means to keep their job. Either way, what happens when the definition of fully vaccinated shifts? What happens when the CDC and other doctors and medical professionals advise people to take multiple booster shots or recommend/require a yearly shot like the flu?
Employees may feel like once they decide to get the initial vaccine, that they have no say in how many other shots or medical interventions they must receive to keep their jobs. For many, this can feel like an overreach with no definitive end. We are learning more about Covid-19 every day, even years after the initial outbreak. How will what we learn in the next two years change the way people are vaccinated? And should employers get to have the final say in these decisions?
What About Religious or Health Exemptions For Vaccine Mandates?
Traditionally, employers have had very little (if any) say in what employees do from a medical standpoint. Employees have been free to decline medical treatment that goes against their religious or ethical beliefs without being a target or risking their jobs. Some people have had serious reactions to previous vaccines and are unwilling and/or unable to receive a vaccine without risking their health. People with pre-existing conditions may not be able to receive the vaccine, and pregnant women may wish to decline this type of medical intervention during pregnancy. Pre-covid, these health decisions were between the employees and his/her doctor or faith leader. Now, employers that enforce job vaccination requirements are requiring employees to choose between their job and their faith, or their job and their current health. For many, this is an impossible situation that puts both the employee and employer in a difficult position.
Employees May Quit Due To A Vaccine Mandate
At the end of the day, an employer-mandated vaccine will cause people to quit. It will cause companies who are already struggling with a labor shortage to lose more valuable employees and cause the remaining employees to burn out. It could have an immediate impact on productivity in the workplace, which will trickle down to customer service and eventually lead to businesses having to shut down for good. Employers that make their employees choose between their job and their personal medical decisions will find that a majority of their employees will choose the latter.
These workplace vacancies will require employers to quickly find new workers, and many will turn to staffing agencies to help pick up the slack. They’ll use professional staffing agencies and their extensive network of qualified laborers to fill in the gaps and attempt to keep their businesses afloat. This could be good news for fully vaccinated job seekers looking for work and that don’t mind the mandates, and can help employers find and train qualified workers that have the potential to turn into long-term employees.
It’s no secret that Los Angeles and the surrounding cities are still recovering from a year of shutting down businesses and labor shortages. Vaccine mandates have already caused an uproar in many of California’s biggest industries and may add more challenges to an already struggling economy. Whether you’re a business in the Los Angeles area or a local looking for work, reaching out to a staffing agency may be the next right step to help you navigate the post-Covid workforce.