Vaccine Refusal Unemployment

If employees get fired for refusing the vaccine, can they collect unemployment?  I’m Amy E. Feldman.

Even though OSHA’s vaccine mandate is temporarily blocked while the courts debate it’s validity, many employers still require workers to be vaccinated, so if workers get fired for refusing, can they collect unemployment?  Probably not.  While employers need to accommodate a person with a legitimate medical or religious exemption, a political or social reason is not protected.  As a result, refusal is considered willful misconduct and workers fired for willful misconduct are not eligible for unemployment.

Some states are currently debating bills that would allow employees fired to collect unemployment, but if, after court review, the OSHA regulations do stand, it is likely that state laws that protect workers who refuse the vaccine without a valid exemption may no longer be valid, so those workers would likely not collect unemployment.

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