November 15, 2021

Alabama requires vaccine exemptions

Alabama now requires employers to allow employees to claim an exemption from a mandatory COVID vaccination requirement for medical or religious reasons. If you have employees in Alabama, you are required to provide them with an exemption request form that includes specific reasons outlined in the law. This law is scheduled to expire on May 1, 2023.

Under the new law, if you deny an employee’s request for an exemption, you must continue to pay them and not fire them for at least seven days. If the employee appeals your denial to the Alabama Department of Labor (ADOL), then these requirements apply until ADOL makes a decision.

Although federal law already requires employers with 15 or more employees to grant exemptions based on disability or religious belief, those laws have exceptions for when the exemption would cause the employer an undue hardship. This new Alabama law applies to all employers regardless of size and doesn’t have any exceptions to the exemptions.

Whether state laws that hinder employer vaccination programs are legal is currently an open question and depends on whether the OSHA ETS survives legal challenges. We will continue to monitor these developments and update accordingly.

Disclaimer:The information contained herein is not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. Employers should closely monitor the rules and regulations specific to their jurisdiction(s) and should seek advice from counsel relative to their rights and responsibilities.

By Megan Butz
General Counsel, HR Compliance, Checkwriters
Megan joined Checkwriters in 2020 and is responsible for reviewing, revising, and implementing internal policies of the company, advising on human resource, employment, and labor matters, and monitoring and publishing state and federal legal updates to the Checkwriters News and Compliance Center for distribution to thousands of clients around the country. Before joining Checkwriters, Megan served as a judicial law clerk for the justices of the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court performing legal research and writing, followed by private practice in Cape Cod.

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