VERIFY: Can you sue your employer if you experience COVID-19 vaccine side effects?

With more companies requiring employees to get vaccinated, some people are wondering if their company is responsible for any adverse reactions to the shot.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — With more private companies requiring COVID-19 vaccines, employees are voicing their concerns about being forced to get vaccinated

One main concern is about adverse reactions to the shot. Some people are wondering if they can sue their employer for requiring the vaccine and they experience severe side effects

WCNC Charlotte's VERIFY team received an email from a viewer asking about his rights and if the company would be responsible if employees have a reaction to the vaccine:

"If your employer mandates that you take the vaccine or face termination if you take the vaccine and you incur future medical issues, or even death, which can be attributed to the vaccine, can you or your family hold the company liable and sue that company?"

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Can you hold your employer liable for side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine? 



This is false.

No, you cannot hold your employer liable for side effects from the vaccine, even if it's a requirement for your employment. 


According to the Department of Labor, many workplaces are covered by OSHA rules called "The Emergency Temporary Standard." The ETS requires employers to support COVID-19 vaccination for each employee by providing time and paid leave for vaccination and any side effects following vaccination. 

The ETS does not require employers to pay for medical treatment for any vaccination side effects. 

That's where the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration Countermeasure Injury Compensation plan, or CICP, comes into play. 

CICP was created so in the unlikely event you experience a serious injury from a covered countermeasure, you could be considered for benefits. The COVID-19 vaccines are covered by the program. 

"You can't sue your employer for personal injuries in almost every state. You're limited to workers' compensation," Mauney said. "Your employer can premise your employment on the vaccine, so you get to make the choice if you're going to take the vaccine or not. You could sue, but you would not win." 

VERIFY is dedicated to helping the public distinguish between true and false information. The VERIFY team, with help from questions submitted by the audience, tracks the spread of stories or claims that need clarification or correction. Have something you want VERIFIED? Text us at 704-329-3600 or visit /verify. 

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