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Wisconsin employers can mandate COVID vaccine, but most don’t

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Vaccines

MADISON (WKOW) -- On the surface, the question of can an employer mandate the COVID-19 vaccine has a simple answer.

"An employer in Wisconsin can mandate employees to be vaccinated unless there's either a medical or religious reason which allows the employee to decide not to be vaccinated," Saul Glazer with Axley Attorneys said.

He says most of his clients, that have discussed this with him, have not yet gone through with a mandate.

Cory Erikson, a longtime human resources expert in Madison, says that even though it's allowed, a mandate could bring up employee relations issues.

So most have gone with a different strategy.

" 'Could you please tell us that you have been vaccinated because this will help us manage the company it's not a requirement but but it would really be appreciated if you would do it'," Erikson said as an example.

As for showing proof of vaccination, Glazer says the vaccination card given to you when you get your vaccine isn't considered a medical record and not subject to health information privacy laws.

"If the employer does so they need to tell the employee not to provide anything other than the vaccination card no medical information whatsoever," Glazer said.

He says that these discussions are coming from a place of wanting to keep a safe work environment.

And Erikson says that this can all be avoided if people choose to get their vaccines voluntarily.

"COVID-19 is a team sport and we need to get vaccinated to help the whole team," he said.

State lawmakers passed a bill barring vaccine mandates for government employees, but Governor Tony Evers vetoed that bill.

The assembly passed a similar bill for private businesses but the senate has not taken it up.

Francisco Almenara

Reporter, WKOW

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