Webinar Recording: Vaccine Mandates and How to Improve Vaccination Rates
More than 100 people attended CAGC’s virtual webinar on Thursday, September 2 to learn the legal ramifications of vaccine mandates and how some construction companies are encouraging their employees to get vaccinated. Mark Stubley, an employment law attorney and shareholder at Ogletree Deakins, Claudia Dodgen, VP of Employee Services and People Development at Crowder Constructors and Robert Baugnon, VP Personnel at Construction Partners, Inc., were presenters for the webinar.
Mark provided a thorough overview of what employers legally can and can’t do regarding mandating vaccines for their employees. He said many employers, such as the federal government, are moving to mandate vaccinations and federal EEO laws do not prohibit policies requiring all employees to receive a vaccination. However, Mark cautioned that all policies must comply with the reasonable accommodation provisions of ADA and Title VII. “If an employee asks for an accommodation, employers must follow a consistent process for handling accommodation requests that allows you to defend against a claim down the road,” he said. However, Mark added that if an owner requires vaccinations on their jobsites, they don’t have any obligation to accommodate your employees. Based on the vaccine tracking at Crowder and Construction Partners, the vaccination rate is around 40%. “Crowder seems to have hit a wall at around 43%,” Claudia said.
Following Mark’s presentation all three panelists fielded questions from participants. Both Claudia and Robert acknowledged that infection rates (from the Delta variant) were up at their jobsites despite the vaccine and frequent testing. “What we are seeing now is worse than at the height of the pandemic,” Robert said. “The scary part is the rate of hospitalizations being much higher than they were before.” When asked about the cost of hospitalizations both Robert and Claudia agreed that these costs could range from $10k to $100k for a regular stay. But for those that must be admitted to the ICU, the range could be anywhere from $100k to $500k.
All three panelists agreed that some of the best ways to encourage vaccinations is to 1) lead by example 2) educate and communicate and 3) continue to host frequent vaccine clinics. Another powerful motivator that is having an impact for both Crowder and Construction Partners is sharing employee testimonials from those who have been sick. “The more our employees hear from their co-workers who have been sick, what it’s like to be hospitalized, maybe we can move the needle”, said Robert.
Vaccine mandates by owners will present challenges for contractors as more and more owners move in this direction. Claudia confirmed that even if you haven’t seen them yet, these mandates are coming – especially since the federal government has already placed vaccine mandates on onsite contractors. “We want to do what’s best for our employees. But for your own safety and health and for the safety and health of those around you, everyone please get the vaccine.”
- Mark Stubley, Partner with Olgetree Deakins, will be providing our members with the facts surrounding the COVID-19 vaccination mandates and what is currently happening.
- Claudia Dodgen, VP Employee Services and People Development at Crowder
- Robert Baugnon, VP Personnel with Construction Partners, Inc.
Watch the Recording
9/2/2021 Webinar: Vaccine Mandates and How to Improve Vaccination Rates