As of November 1, 2022, private businesses in New York City will no longer be required to mandate their employees be vaccinated against COVID-19, Mayor Eric Adams recently announced. In fact, as of November 1, 2022, there will no longer be any state or large city in the United States mandating that all private employers require their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
This announcement marks the beginning of the end of the vaccination requirement imposed on private employers, which was initiated in December 2021 by then-Mayor de Blasio in his final days in office. (See our prior advisory – NYC Guidance on COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Private Employers | Davis Wright Tremaine (dwt.com).) Thus, as of November 1, employers in New York City will be legally permitted to allow unvaccinated employees to work on their premises in New York City, and will no longer be legally compelled to inquire about employees' (and applicants') vaccination status. Indeed, Goldman Sachs announced yesterday that it would no longer require its employees to be vaccinated to enter its New York City offices.
This does not mean, however, that private employers are no longer permitted to require vaccination for their employees (and prospective employees) in New York City. Employers should give careful consideration to whether to stay the course or change course in this regard, as neither approach is likely to garner the unanimous support of employees in most workplaces. For example, for many employers, the lifting of the vaccination mandate will be a welcome relief from the various legal issues associated with employees and applicants requesting accommodations under disability and religious discrimination laws. Alternatively, many employers may want to continue to require vaccination against COVID-19 as a health and safety benefit to their employees.
Accordingly, employers should now review their policies and procedures to determine whether they will still require their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.