Jill Lashay, shareholder in the Firm's Labor & Employment section, is quoted in The Hill article, “Unions wade into debate over requiring COVID-19 vaccine.” Jill offers insight into the complexities of mandating the COVID-19 for union workers.
“If you unilaterally implement a mandatory vaccine policy when it’s not been addressed in your current collective bargaining agreement, that may lead to a successful unfair labor practice charge against the employer,” said Jill Lashay, a labor law expert at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC who represents management and employers.
Lashay is co-author of a report on mandating the COVID-19 vaccine that concluded different rules may apply for mandating a vaccine for employers with union members, even if taking it could be considered essential for the job.
The challenge ahead is comparable to the flu vaccination, which some companies already require their employees to take. Lashay said employers are likely on firm legal ground if the existing collective bargaining agreement permits mandatory vaccines. But some are more specific and could have clauses for illnesses like the flu.