It’s a question many businesses are facing. Can they ask or even require their employees to be vaccinated? “As an owner of the business, I think I would like to make sure that everybody has the vaccine so that I know people are ready to join my group. My team is safe for me, my family, my coworkers, and my customers,” said Pedro Pineda, Owner of Jalapenos Restaurant. Can they do it? Lawyers say yes.
“An employer who asks that question and didn’t get the answer that they were wanting or got no answer at all, could conceivably terminate or not hire that individual,” said Tim Kostka, Attorney at Law. The reason? Experts say HIPPA doesn’t apply to them. “They’re not a covered entity under HIPPA. So them asking that question and frankly them releasing the answer to that question wouldn’t constitute a HIPPA violation or be regulated by HIPPA simply because they’re not a covered entity,” Kostka said.
Covered entities include health care providers, health plans, and health care clearinghouses. Whether you’re walking into a business, a restaurant, or even into work, it doesn’t violate your rights when someone asks. That doesn’t always mean you have to answer. A business can ask you to provide proof you have been vaccinated. If you decide not to, then you could be refused entry to that business. As those businesses would be well within their rights.