If You Were Fired Because You Were Not Exempt From Vaccinations, Can You Qualify for Unemployment Benefits?

As the spread of variant Delta COVID more and more employers require the vaccination of employees. As we have seen in some high-profile examples, the non-compliance has led to the dismissal of employees or dismissal from work, in order to avoid puncture. But does this mean that they are still eligible for unemployment benefits? The short answer is no, as the law favors employers when it comes to vaccines. Here’s what you need to know.

Vaccine refusal is a reason for discontinuation

According to USA Today , a recent legal opinion from the US Department of Justice confirms that private companies have the legal right to require COVID vaccinations provided they do not violate existing state and federal laws, which you can check here . This means that if your company’s policy now requires vaccinations and you don’t get it, you could be fired and ineligible for unemployment benefits. You also won’t qualify if you quit your job just because you don’t want to get vaccinated.

You need a good reason to get unemployment benefits

Generally, to receive unemployment benefits, you must be out of work through no fault of your own, such as a series of layoffs at your company. You are not eligible for unemployment benefits if you were fired for misconduct, including violation of your company’s new vaccine policy. (It’s worth mentioning here that in some states, you can still get unemployment benefits if you were fired for less serious reasons, such as simply not doing your job.)

The only exception to this rule is what is known as “good cause.” This is where you essentially dismiss your employer for valid reasons, such as unsafe working conditions, lack of pay, or discrimination. In many states, a “good cause” can include discrimination on the basis of religion or disability. In this case, a lawsuit can be filed if your employer did not provide a reasonable accommodation prior to your dismissal or was fired (for example, working from home or other social distancing measures).

However, these devices also cannot cause “unjustified difficulties” for the employer. In this case, the employer may argue that refusing the vaccine prevents you from doing your job effectively, that you pose a risk to the health of other employees. In addition, you will need to provide proof that you cannot get the vaccine for legitimate medical or religious reasons and that your employer has violated your rights. From a legal point of view, this will be a tough battle.

As employment attorney Joshua Van Kampen explains at Yahoo! In your interview, don’t expect to find lawyers willing to sue an employer for demanding a vaccine: “I have yet to meet a strong religious objection to vaccination. I think people are surprised to learn that they don’t have many legal options. “

Bottom line

Do not expect unemployment benefits if you violate your company’s mandatory vaccination policy, as this will be considered a ground for termination. You can technically qualify for medical or religious exemptions, but this will be very difficult to prove. As this policy becomes the norm, it is best to simply get a vaccine.


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