A new Florida law restricting businesses from asking customers about COVID-19 vaccination status or denying goods or services on this basis has made headlines nationwide. Similar “anti-vaccine passport” laws have been passed or are close to passage in Texas, Alabama, and other states. Employers with operations in these states have asked whether these laws limit their ability to ask employees about their vaccination status or create different workplace policies for vaccinated and unvaccinated employees.
To date, these new state laws do not restrict employers’ rights to make decisions based on employee vaccination status. The laws’ terms are limited to customer access and interaction and do not apply to employment policies. In other words, employers may continue to ask employees whether they have been vaccinated, allow vaccinated employees to forego masks in compliance with CDC and state standards, and even condition continuing employment on proving that they have received the COVID-19 vaccine.
Of course, some states may try to impose restrictions on workplace vaccination policies. Absent federal legislation or regulations that preempt these state laws, companies with operations in multiple states should continue to monitor how these legislative efforts affect their customer and employee policies.