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COVID-19 Federal Vaccine Mandate: Agencies Encouraged to Delay Proposed Disciplinary Actions

At the end of November, the Biden administration encouraged agencies to hold off on enforcing suspensions or removals for unvaccinated federal employees. The guidance comes after the White House released a November 24th update that over 90% of employees have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and over 96% have either received one dose of the vaccine or have a pending or approved exemption request.

One of the most common questions Tully Rinckey PLLC is receiving with this news is whether this announcement to delay potential suspensions or removal decisions will make it easier to obtain a medical or religious exemption.

Agency delays will not change the approval process, but we are seeing more opportunities being provided by agencies for employees to supplement their accommodation requests with additional documentation. We are also seeing more denials than approvals for medical accommodations, and vice versa for sincerely held religious accommodations. Agencies seem to be latching on to “CDC recommendations” during the review of medical accommodation requests, which means that unless a doctor clearly states what the condition is, and if it is not on the CDC recommendation list, the employee is most likely going to be denied a medical accommodation.

Federal employees seeking advice with their accommodation process or find themselves facing a proposed disciplinary action can reach out to Tully Rinckey PLLC by calling (888)-964-7745 and requesting a consultation with one of their attorneys.

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