At-Will Employees Could Be Terminated For Flu Shot Refusal

Yes, if you are an at-will employee you can be fired for refusing to get a flu shot.

With the onset of cold and flu season, undoubtedly, someone in your office is sneezing or coughing. Realistically, you probably will be sick sometime this winter. While it has been drilled into us since kindergarten that washing your hands with soap and water will prevent the spread of germs, some employees voluntarily protect themselves from the flu by getting a flu shot. Some employers even bring in outside healthcare providers who will administer flu shots in the office for the convenience of their employees. However, what do you do if your employee DEMANDS that you get a flu shot?

At-will employees are generally those without a written employment contract, or union members who operate under a Collective Bargaining Agreement, or something similar. If you are an at-will employee, and most employees are, you can be fired for any reason – being late to work, poor job performance, failing to follow company policies – or for no reason at all. Therefore, at-will employees can also be fired for refusing to get a flu shot.

While this does raise issues regarding the privacy rights employees have over their own bodies, no employer can physically force an employee to get a flu shot. Yet, if you do refuse, you may be out of a job. And stuck with a bad case of the flu.