KHOU’s Mia Salenetri says that generally speaking, people fired for refusing required vaccines — including the new COVID-19 vaccine — can be denied unemployment benefits in some cases.
“Some who refuse [shots] may be looking forward to the support of unemployment benefits while they look for a new job that doesn’t require vaccines. But for many of them, that might not be an option,” Salenetri writes.
“Major corporations like Disney and Walmart say they will require COVID-19 vaccines for some employees,” Salenetri writes. “In general, those fired for refusing can’t get unemployment.”
According to representatives at The Seltzer Law Firm and The Employment Law Group, in most areas of the country, if you are fired for breaking company policy — in the cases of Disney, Walmart, Google, and more refusing to provide proof of required vaccines — you are not eligible for unemployment payments.
Employment Attorney John T. Harrington told Salenetri that “[e]ven something as simple as a dress code” violation is considered company insubordination.
“It’s misconduct, and it would likely disqualify you from receiving unemployment benefits,” Harrington warned, and pointed out that in some cases, the only way to get around it is to provide a valid medical or religious exemption, which are determined with employers only on a case-by-case basis.
“We have received numerous inquiries from clients and potential clients about how courts are likely to view these situations,” he added. “We’ve been advising them that if you have one of these two valid reasons to believe that you should be exempt from a vaccination requirement, you should assert them. But otherwise, companies are entitled to require that employees be vaccinated.”
The report notes that if a company’s vaccination policy is made clear to employees — as well as the repercussions of flouting the policy — and the employee still refuses, “the disqualification [for UC benefits] is the same as if they had broken any other company rule.”