Employment Law Alert: New York City Announces First-In-The-Nation Vaccine Mandate For Private Companies

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced yesterday, December 6, 2021, that the city will require COVID-19 vaccinations for all employees in the city’s private sector effective December 27, 2021. The details of the requirement have not been announced yet, but it is expected that the city’s 184,000 private businesses will be required to ensure that their employees are vaccinated as a condition of employment. While further details have not been released yet, enforcement of the rule could be directed at employees, rendering them ineligible to work if they have not been partially or fully vaccinated. In any event, NYC employers should be ready to adapt their policies to conform with the pending mandate.

The rule, which has already drawn considerable controversy, would be the first of its kind in the nation. According to the Mayor’s office, the city will issue additional enforcement and reasonable accommodation (e.g., health-related and/or religious exemption) guidance on December 15. At the time of this writing, there has not yet been a legal challenge filed in the appropriate court, though that will almost certainly change this week or next when the guidance is issued.

New York City employers should be prepared to adapt to this new rule likely setting requirements that all employees be vaccinated for COVID. Employers should also be on the lookout for rules and guidance on handling applications for disability or religious-related exemptions, and be ready to implement a conforming policy no later than December 27. For now, we will await further guidance from the Mayor’s Office expected on or before December 15. Check back in with Frier Levitt’s blog in the coming days for more information.

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