Should You Require Employee Vaccinations?

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In-person boat shows continue to do well, while the topic of requiring employees to get vaccinated is moving front and center.

“We hoped to have a good show, but we never expected to set a new attendance record for this 20-year-old event,” said David Ray, executive director of the Marine Industries Association of Central Florida.

Ray was describing MIACF’s annual Daytona Boat Show at the Daytona International Speedway, which wrapped up a three-day run Sunday.

“Attendance aside, the early reports from dealers are also excellent,” Ray said. “Justin Miller of Boaters Choice Marine-Daytona reported 16 sales [Robalo and Chaparral]. He expects some more this week.”

Show organizers followed strict city safety protocols, requiring masks and urging social distancing, and a cleaning crew wiped down boats and touch points. Neck gaiters were handed out, but the unexpected attendance drained the supply by late Saturday.

“It’s just another confirmation that the public wants boat shows, and the sales impact for dealers is undeniable,” Ray said. “For MIACF, the results in Daytona also bode really well for our upcoming show in Orlando on March 5-7.”

Virtually all the recent major in-person shows — including Jersey Shore, Fort, Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Charlotte County and St. Petersburg — have been successful, signaling that boat shows remain key marketing vehicles. And while these have been primarily outdoor events, there’s little doubt that the Northern winter show season, wiped out by Covid, will successfully return in 2022.

Employee Vaccinations or Not?

Now that the Covid vaccines are becoming more widely available, it follows that employers may face a tough choice on how to proceed. It’s notable that a majority of employers recently surveyed support the idea of mandatory worker vaccinations. However, Pew Research documents there’s strong pushback, as well.

Can you legally require employees to get vaccinated? It’s generally agreed it would be legal, according to the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission.

What about an employee who objects on medical or religious grounds? Uncertain. Should you take a hard stand on the issue? No recommendation. What would be the best way to communicate any requirement, or lack thereof, and such timing? Your pick.

Questions such as these would best be considered and discussed now, as the issue seems certain to become more prominent.

It’s reported that Blind, a community where professionals connect, recently surveyed a group of nearly 4 million employees to gauge opinions on the Covid-19 vaccine. Questions included whether employers have the right to ask employees to get vaccinated, and would you get vaccinated if your employer asked you to?

The survey drew 3,280 responses, and 72 percent said they’d get vaccinated “if their employer asked them to.” But some respondents noted things an employer might not have considered, such as the potential for fraud. Referring to a vaccination card or similar evidence, a Microsoft employee wrote: “I would forge it. Not that hard to do.” Still another claimed to have an extreme fear of needles. Would that be enough to exclude someone from a shot?

It’s likely no policy will please everyone. At a minimum, it’s important you strive to ensure your workplace is as safe as possible, whether that includes vaccinations or not. This is no time to see “pandemic fatigue” in the dealership. Better to think about how you might deal with these issues in advance of them coming up.

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