Although we may be seeing the light at the end of the long COVID-19 tunnel, for those employers who have instituted a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, a new law in Nebraska applies to you. On Monday, February 28, 2022 Governor Ricketts signed LB 906. LB 906 requires employers who have a mandatory vaccination policy to allow for exemptions for employees who have a religious objection to the vaccine or a medical condition that would prevent them from receiving the vaccine.
Although federal law governing mandatory vaccination policies already provides that employers must provide accommodations for individuals who have sincerely held religious beliefs, or have a medical condition, that would prevent vaccination, the State of Nebraska has weighted in on this issue as well.
The new law, LB 906, requires Nebraska employers to grant an exemption from mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations if an individual completes a vaccine exemption form showing that either: they have a medical contraindication for receiving the COIVD-19 vaccine or a medical necessity requires the individual to delay receiving the vaccine or they indicate that receiving the vaccine “would conflict with the individual’s sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance.” Any medical exemption would need to be supported by a written note from a health care provider.
The State of Nebraska has developed an exemption form that may be found here.
The new law does allow an employer to require employees granted an exemption to be periodically tested for COVID-19, but this must be done at the employer’s expense. Employers can also require those employees granted an exemption to wear or use PPE that is provided by the employer.
LB 906 does contain an exemption for “medicare-certified or Medicaid-certified provider or supplier or … federal contractor[s].” It provides that those employers “may require additional processes, documentation, or accommodations as necessary to be in compliance with federal law and to maintain compliance with rules and regulations of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.”
Although the end of the pandemic may be approaching, for those employers who are mandating vaccines, it will be important to ensure you comply with the new Nebraska law and grant exemptions to employees when required. If you have question about your COVID-19 policies and procedures, please contact Eric Tiritilli.
By Eric Tiritilli, Partner at Lamson Dugan & Murray