United States:

Georgia bans government-implemented COVID-19 vaccine programs and restricts disclosure of people’s vaccinated status

June 04, 2021

Little Mendelson

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On May 25, 2021, Governor Brian Kemp signed an executive order prohibiting government agencies, government service providers, or government property from conducting a vaccination record (VPP) 1 or otherwise requesting evidence of COVID from an individual. 19 vaccination. The ordinance goes on to state that no data from the Georgia Registry of Immunization Transaction and Services will be shared with any public or private entity to enable a VPP or otherwise determine a person’s COVID-19 vaccination status.

Important lessons for employers

While several states recently issued ordinances prohibiting companies from inquiring about a customer’s vaccination status, Georgia is the first to look at whether proof of COVID-19 vaccination can be used as a condition of employment. Although somewhat ambiguous, the Georgian ordinance provides that “no state or agency employee will be granted work-related privileges, accommodation, employment conditions, or otherwise be subject to different rules or requirements than other employees” based on COVID-19 vaccination status. In particular, the ordinance provides that government agencies, providers of government services and government institutions are prohibited from requesting proof of COVID-19 vaccination as a condition, among other things, in order to be employed by the state or to receive other rights or privileges granted by the state enjoy.

Private employers are only prohibited from accessing or using data from the Georgia Registry of Immunization Transactions and Services or other COVID-19 vaccination data held by the state for a VPP or otherwise determining the vaccination status of individuals at other for employment purposes. While the regulation prohibits private employers from accessing or using the vaccination data held by the state, the regulation does not specifically prohibit private employers from requesting proof of vaccination from their employees from a source other than the state data.

It is important that private employers who opt for proof of vaccination must be careful not to involve the Americans with Disabilities Act with post-issue questions that could elicit information about a disability. The EEOC guidelines of May 28, 2021 make it clear that a person’s vaccination status is medical information that an employer must treat confidentially and keep separate from an employee’s personnel file. In addition, while the regulation does not regulate whether a private employer can condition or otherwise exclude employment if he refuses to provide evidence of vaccination, this does not mean that private employers can do so with impunity. Before such a measure is taken, private employers must carry out an individual analysis and determine whether rights under federal or state law apply.


1 “Vaccination Record Program” is defined as any program that would determine a person’s COVID-19 vaccination status in order to allow or deny that person access to services, property, employment or other rights or privileges based on that status, or would limit individual freedom and force Georgians to divulge private medical information.

The content of this article is intended to provide general guidance on the subject. Expert advice should be sought regarding your specific circumstances.

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