As you are aware, the President has issued an Executive Order requiring all federal employees to be fully vaccinated by November 22, 2021. COVID testing is no longer part of the government’s plan for teleworkers or those who refuse to vaccinate. There will be only two exemptions to this mandatory policy, for those proving they meet religious or medical qualifications (Reasonable Accommodation). We do not currently know the exact scope of or criteria for these exemptions. NAAE is closely monitoring the slowing evolving vaccination mandate. The Agency has not yet announced the details of its mandatory vaccination program. It is waiting for guidance from the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force established by the President’s Executive Order. Once announced, NAAE will engage the Agency in negotiating all possible negotiable aspects of that program, including obtaining exemptions and the procedures for penalizing those not vaccinated. This Executive Order is essentially federal law and the guidance from the Task Force has the force of governmentwide regulation. The effect of these broad powers will be to limit what NAAE can legally negotiate.
As a preliminary step, we anticipate Management will be asking employees to demonstrate proof of vaccination. While this may be offensive to some of you, it may be demanded in the form of a direct order, and refusal to comply could trigger the start of disciplinary proceedings for insubordination. Assuming proof will take the form of certification of vaccination status, certification may be under penalty of perjury. We cannot legally stop Management from requiring proof. Management has already asked employees for “self-certification” of vaccination status in the earlier vaccination/testing efforts. Do not confuse your medical privacy rights for “HIPAA.” HIPAA is a law that prevents your doctor, hospital, or employer from disclosing your medical information. Showing your manager your vaccination card is not protected under “HIPAA.” The Agency may not disclose your medical information. NAAE will work to see that whatever procedures are used, your medical information will be kept confidential. We will also fight to secure whatever religious and medical exemptions you qualify for under the Task Force guidance and to ensure you receive full due process in the event the Agency attempts to discipline you for failing or refusing to get vaccinated.