Is it legal to require workers coming into my home to be vaccinated?
Yes. When you hire a worker to come into your home, whether a babysitter, plumber, or nurse, you enter into a Service Contract. You have the legal right to negotiate and determine the terms of that contract before you agree. That can include requiring vaccinations against COVID-19 and wearing a mask while inside or when distancing is not possible. The simplest way to ensure workers are vaccinated before they enter your home is to refuse to hire them unless they agree to provide Proof of Vaccination.
If you have already hired a contractor and did not discuss vaccination status as a term of the contract, you may be able to modify or terminate the contract and refuse to allow the worker to enter your home unless they are vaccinated. The contract may have specific provisions that allow it to be cancelled, however, in this situation, you may want to ask a lawyer to help you negotiate, particularly if the work has already begun. If work has begun, or the worker has incurred costs, you may be legally responsible for paying for what has already been done or the loss of opportunity to take on other work.
Can I require visitors to wear masks and show proof of vaccination before entering my property?
Yes. As either owner or tenant of a property, you have the right to refuse entry to almost any individual. You may also require individuals to wear masks and show Proof of Vaccination. This is true regardless of the nature of the occasion, such as a family event or social gathering, or its size, be it large or small.
A person who enters your property without your permission, or who remains on your property after told to leave, is trespassing. You may call local law enforcement to remove the person from your property. You may have legal options, particularly if the trespass results in a household member contracting COVID-19. A Rocket Lawyer On Call® attorney can help you evaluate the options in your state.
If you are hosting an event that is not on your property, the property owner has the same right to exclude unvaccinated individuals from their property as you do on yours. Before signing an agreement, speak to the owner or manager of the event space about their policies regarding vaccination status, masks, and Proof of Vaccination, including how those policies will be enforced during your event. You may also check your local laws: Many states and cities have renewed mask mandates in light of the Delta variant.
Is it legal to offer gifts to friends, family, neighbors, or workers to get vaccinated?
Yes. As noted above, you have the right to enter into an agreement with any individual for almost any reason. This includes offering gifts or cash to the people around you in exchange for their vaccinatIon against COVID-19.
Some cities and states do this to boost vaccination rates. New York held a lottery in June 2021 in which teenagers who agreed to be vaccinated had a chance to win one of five full-ride college scholarships. Other states, cities, and even private businesses, have offered gift cards or other small incentives.
Who has a right to ask about vaccination?
Any private individual has the right to ask about vaccination status, or for Proof of Vaccination, as a condition to enter their home. Individuals who are asked have the corresponding right to decide whether to disclose their vaccination status or choose not to enter that home.
The privacy provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, known as HIPAA, do not apply to a person's own disclosure of vaccination status. Questions about vaccination status might be considered nosy by some, but they are not illegal, and for most people, these questions provide peace of mind during these uncertain times.
This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.