The head of Nevada’s Equal Rights Commission told lawmakers Friday, Feb. 5, that employers cannot force a worker to get vaccinated.
Kara Jenkins made the statement during a hearing before the Assembly Government Affairs Committee. She said the person may have a pre-existing condition that prevents them from being vaccinated or a religious objection to vaccines.
But she said the issue raises a number of questions.
“If you don’t take the vaccine and do get sick, is it a worker’s comp issue?” she asked.
She also questioned whether someone who refuses the vaccination and gets sick is creating an undue hardship on the employer and creating a hardship on other employees at the business.
The situation is further complicated by federal health privacy rules that basically shield workers from having to tell their bosses if they have a pre-existing condition.
“All we know is you cannot require someone to take a vaccine,” she said.
But she said employers can, “strongly encourage the use of a vaccine, especially if the employees come in contact with members of the public.”
Jenkins said some pre-existing conditions listed as potential dangers to COVID vaccinations include cancer, HIV, diabetes and asthma.
She said the commission has been struggling to get more definitive answers from the federal government on the rights of employees and the rights of business operators.