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Yes, your employer can ask if you're vaccinated. No, HIPAA doesn't protect you in that case.

KHOU's legal analyst says employers can ask your vaccination status to maintain a safe workplace. However, you have the right not to share your medical information.

HOUSTON — Ever since the CDC announced fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask in most settings, more and more businesses are updating their mask policies.

The common policy among large retailers is: if you’ve gotten your shots, you can take it off. If you haven’t, keep them on.

Now, a lot of people want to know if their employer can ask if they're vaccinated and ask for proof. Others want to know if HIPAA protects them from sharing that information.

KHOU 11 legal analyst Carmen Roe says HIPAA does not.

“HIPAA is really nothing more than a law that was put into place to streamline medical records in an electronic format. So no, HIPAA is not a privacy protection source,” Roe said.

She says employers can ask your vaccination status in an effort to maintain a safe work environment. They can also require you to keep a mask on if you have not gotten the shots.

However, you have the right not to share your medical information. In addition, Roe says there are state and federal laws that protect you against discrimination.

If you choose not to answer, then it triggers a situation where the employer can punish you, demote you, or ultimately fire you. If that circumstance occurs, we don’t know what the courts will say about that, but you would have an action for wrongful termination,” said Roe.

Even though HIPAA doesn’t necessarily apply in this situation, your medical information is protected. The courts will ultimately decide if your job is protected too.