Can My Boss Make Me Get the COVID Shot?

Mar 2, 2021 | Allen A. Ritchie

Covid 19 Vaccines & the Law


Sometimes I have to advise my clients on not what is legal but what is practical. Here is the real question you want to ask yourself — Am I willing to lose my job over not taking this shot?

I won’t take a stand on whether you should have the vaccine or not, but I have had COVID-19, and you don’t want it.

So, in my best lawyer style, I will answer your question. Can my boss make me get the COVID shot? Well, maybe.

First, Alabama is a right-to-work state which means your boss can fire you for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason. Of course, you can quit too. If he or she wants to provide an explanation, here is one, a business has a duty to provide a safe working environment. The boss can argue that your failure to get vaccinated is putting your fellow employees in danger. This excuse has a practical financial component for the business; it could see a significant jump in its worker’s compensation rates because of multiple claims.

Now, there are some exceptions to a boss’s ability to fire you. If you have a contract, whether individually or through a union, they may not be able to terminate you without cause. Plus, federal regulations prevent you from being fired based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or age. There are also protections if you have a medical condition that prevents you from being vaccinated. In that case, the American’s With Disabilities Act may kick in.

As a practical matter, most employers do not want to fire you. If they feel the vaccine is necessary, many will offer you a bonus, a prize incentive, or even time off. It is in their best interest for you to be safe, come to work, and not infect the customers.

No law directly mentions being firing for not taking the vaccine. Of course, that could change.

If you suffer a personal injury like an auto accident or slip and fall, you can talk to us at the Law Firm of Eiland and Ritchie for free. We want to help you get back on your feet. We are mostly working remotely but are always available.

Also, join us on NBC 15 LawCall here in Mobile every Sunday night at 10:30, right after the news. We will take your calls live. We are experimenting with new ways to do the show and still follow the CDC guidelines. You might want to see what we have come up with.

Allen Ritchie

Alabama Personal Injury Lawyer