HIPAA protections don’t apply to the COVID vaccine, so you might start getting asked about vaccination status more often, including from employers.
Why it matters: Most of us aren’t used to our employers having access our medical information, but the pandemic is changing that.
Whether you’re returning to an office, retail work or other workspace, you’re likely to be asked about whether or not you’ve been vaccinated. And employers can require employees to get vaccinated before returning to work. But most aren’t exercising that option.
- “The main thing that most organizations are trying to figure out right now is how to really strike the balance between what’s legally permissible and what’s best for the health of employees and customers,” Cliff Scott, a professor of organizational science and communication studies at UNC Charlotte, tells me. “Also, what fits with our own ethical standards as an organization, our own culture, our own risk management needs.”
Details: Each company is handling the return to work differently, and they’re not all asking employees to disclose their vaccination status. But many are offering incentives for vaccinated employees. Most of those incentives are perks to make getting a vaccine during the work day easier.
For example Target is offering free Lyft rides for employees to and from vaccine appointments, and paying them for the time they’re gone. Kroger is offering vaccinated employees $100 in store credit.