- Kastle Systems has added coronavirus vaccination status as a possible building access factor, the security company announced March 22. The offering aims to help employers resume on-site operations.
- Employees and visitors can use the KastlePresence app to verify vaccination status, something that can also be done by an employer's HR team via an online portal. "This feature will allow building and office management to use vaccination status to determine access, consistent with each building and office suite's specific set of policies, as they prepare for office occupancy to return to pre-pandemic levels," Kastle said in a statement announcing the offering.
- Employers also can use COVID-19 testing results to manage building access via Kastle. More than 41,000 businesses use Kastle, the company said.
Vaccines play an important role in employers' reopening strategies. But the details of that role are only just beginning to take shape, as vaccines become more widely available and business regulations catch up to the situation at hand.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said in December that employers can require proof that employees have been vaccinated. The agency pointed out several key exceptions, however. Employers that require vaccination or proof of vaccination, for instance, must show that their inquiries are job related and consistent with business necessity to avoid implications under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Employers may be allowed to exclude certain individuals from the workplace if they are unable to receive COVID-19 vaccines, EEOC said. In the case of a disability, employers should assess the scenario to determine whether a direct threat exists. If the employer cannot reduce the direct threat to an acceptable level with a reasonable accommodation, then it can exclude the worker, according to the agency. The procedure is similar if a religious belief prevents a worker from getting vaccinated.
As more and more workers become eligible for the vaccine, some employers are opting to offer vaccination incentives. This strategy, while possibly effective, raises a regulatory question. The EEOC has not yet clarified whether certain vaccination incentives conflict with national anti-discrimination laws such as the ADA. Typically, employers that offer a health incentive must offer an alternative method of obtaining the award for employees with disabilities that prohibit their participation. Employer groups requested that EEOC weigh in on the question, but it remains unclear whether this principal applies to COVID-19 vaccine incentives.