DOL: No Unemployment Benefits For Some That Refuse Vaccine

The Delaware Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a policy statement today to address questions and concerns about a claimant’s eligibility to collect Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits after refusing to be vaccinated or tested as required by an employer.

Delaware law states that claimants are not allowed to receive UI benefits if they have violated an employers’ policy that is deemed to be reasonable in nature and has been clearly communicated to employees. In general, DOL has determined that vaccine requirements by employers are considered reasonable in nature, according to the statement.

“Employees and claimants that fail to comply with employer-initiated COVID-19 vaccination requirements, in most instances, would not qualify to receive UI benefits upon separation from the employer. Like all UI claims, eligibility will depend on the specific circumstances as each claim is unique and reviewed on a case-by-case basis.”

The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued guidance stating employers can require that an employee receive the COVID-19 vaccine to return to the workplace, unless the employee cannot get the vaccine due to a disability, a doctor has advised a woman not to get the vaccine while pregnant or breastfeeding, or because of a “sincerely held religious belief”, practice, or observance.

The statement goes on to say that employers who hire union employees are also encouraged to review the governing collective bargaining agreement before requiring vaccinations. All relevant federal and state laws should be consulted by employers as they consider whether a reasonable accommodation is required.

Source: DOL

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