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As COVID vaccine becomes available to more people, will companies require employees to get it?

Employment law experts say companies do have the right to require employees get vaccinated with a few exceptions.

TAMPA, Fla. — As the coronavirus vaccine becomes readily available to more age groups in Florida, more people will soon be heading back to the office instead of working from home. 

But many now are asking: will companies start making it mandatory for employees to get vaccinated?

"We get questions on this all the time," Sass Law Firm attorney Amanda Biondolino said.

We spoke to two employment law experts to learn more.

"Generally speaking at an at-will employment environment an employer is allowed to make vaccinations a requirement," attorney Charlotte Fernee Kelly said.

With the short answer being yes, there are a few exceptions.

"Probably just not being comfortable is not enough to give an employee protection but they do have some protections. If they can't take it for a disability or a religion then the law does give them the right to ask for accommodation," Biondolino said. 

Those two exceptions require companies to offer reasonable accommodations to the employee as long as it doesn't cause undue hardship for the employer.

"I would also recommend to try to make it easy on your employer by giving them some suggestions of how you can work from home properly," Kelly said.

While we haven't seen companies mandate them yet we have seen them offer incentives to get it which some warn is a gray area.

"If an employer is going to offer that to employees but an employee with a disability can't partake now that employer needs to be aware those actions could be implicating discrimination laws," Biondolino said.

"At the end of the day, it's a relationship and try to preserve it as best one can for both the employee and employer," Kelly said.

They say one place to go to find the latest recommendations is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's website.

RELATED: Florida expands COVID vaccination age to 16 and older starting April 5

RELATED: Where to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida

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