March 2022: Indiana Restricts Employer Vaccination Mandates

15 Mar


Update Applicable to:
All employers in the state of Indiana

What happened?
On March 3, 2022, the Indiana General Assembly passed House Bill 1001 (HB 1001), which restricts employer COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

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What are the details?
Effective immediately, private employers are required to accept medical, religious, and acquired immunity exemptions from vaccine mandates, and to allow employees with exemptions to submit to COVID-19 testing in lieu of immunization.

All employers, regardless of size, must comply with the law with respect to their employees in Indiana. Under the law, the following employers are not subject to the law’s vaccine mandate restrictions:

  • Federal employers
  • Federal contractors
  • Healthcare employers that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding (thereby reconciling the law with the Health and Human Services vaccine mandate for healthcare workers in Medicare/Medicaid facilities)
  • Professional sports organizations and entertainment venues with respect to their employees who work closely with teams and entertainment at the venue

If an employee is granted an exemption based on medical, religious, or natural immunity reasons, the employer may require the employee to submit to COVID-19 testing; however, they may not require the employee to test more than twice a week. The test must be one that is approved by the FDA and be the “least invasive testing option available.” Additionally, the test cannot create an undue burden on the employee. Notably, this statute does not specifically require employers to pay for such tests, but such obligations may exist under other applicable laws or collective bargaining agreements.

An employer that receives an exemption request based on religious beliefs is specifically instructed to analyze the request in compliance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In other words, employers may use the undue hardship analysis under Title VII religious accommodation standards to analyze whether to grant an employee’s religious exemption request.

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For more information, please see the links below:

House Bill 1001 (HB 1001)

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Article 1Article 2

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links provided above, grant medical and “natural immunity” exemption requests that meet Indiana’s statutory requirements and may continue to analyze religious exemption/accommodation requests consistent with the Title VII undue hardship standard.

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