Unemployment assistance is likely unavailable to those who lose employment for refusing to get the Covid-19 vaccine without a recognized reason. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released guidance under federal law that makes it clear that employers may require workers to receive a COVID-19 vaccine – with limited exceptions. This is also true under Oregon law. There are narrow exceptions for people with a medical exemption or a “sincerely held religious belief.”
Jobless benefits are typically available to people who lose their jobs because they’ve been laid off or fired, but not to people who quit without “good cause.” People who are fired may not be eligible, either, if they refused to comply with an employer’s reasonable policies. “[R]equiring somebody to be vaccinated during the midst of a worldwide pandemic is a reasonable policy,” said David Gerstenfeld, acting director of the Oregon Employment Department.
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