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Can You Be Fired For Refusing Vaccination If Your Employer Requires It?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- As the COVID vaccine rollout continues across the country, employees are wondering whether the company they work for can make the vaccine a requirement.

Morgan Kruse works for a health care company in the Twin Cities. While she gets her flu shot every year, she's unsure about getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

"I'm not anti-vaccine, I'm just not going to jump on the opportunity when it's my turn to get it," she said.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission does allow companies to mandate the flu and other vaccines, and has indicated they could also make the COVID-19 vaccines a requirement for employees.

"Most employees in the U.S. are at-will employees, which means employers are free to set the conditions of employment and hire and fire at will," University of Minnesota law professor Jill Hasday said.

Hasday says employees who have a disability or a religious reason could be exempt from a vaccine mandate. But the employer would only have to provide a reasonable accommodation, like working from home.

"If you're someone who has to go to your job to do your work then it's unlikely you'd be able to get out of the vaccination," Hasday said.

That means if you refuse to take the COVID-19 when your employer requires it, you could risk being fired.

"I think I would probably consider leaving. I wouldn't want to work for a company that would force something like a vaccine on their employees," Kruse said.

A survey published by the Pew Research Center in early December showed around 60% of Americans plan to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

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