Can a business require its employees get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Can a business mandate its employees get the COVID-19 vaccine

It's a question that employers are definitely mulling over as coronavirus vaccine access grows and businesses start returning to in-person work. It's also a question that employees will be wondering when they're summoned back to their job.

The short answer, as FOX 2's Charlie Langton points out, is yes.

"If an employer believes they want to make a safe workplace, I believe they can require their workers to get the vaccine," he said in Thursday morning's segment of The Verdict.

That's definitely true for private employers. It's also true for public employers, like schools and local governments.

As a point of public health, if a company determines it's in its best interest for the health of its employees that all of them get vaccinated against COVID-19 - or any disease for that matter - they can do that.

There are a few exceptions to the rule, however, like medical and religious exemptions. 

As different vaccines started getting approved last December, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission updated its What To Know section about vaccine protocols in the workplace.

RELATED: In-office work can resume in Michigan in two weeks

Per an update added Dec. 16, if an employer has something called a qualification standard that includes "a requirement that an individual shall not pose a direct threat to the health or safety of individuals in the workplace" that can include a vaccine.

For now, companies have looked to incentives to get their employees to get the vaccine instead of forcing them to do so.

But the state has also reached its 55% threshold for vaccine coverage, which means all in-person office work will be allowed to resume within the next two weeks.

House Republicans in the Michigan legislature have introduced a bill that would prohibit the state from enforcing a rule that requires individuals to get protected against COVID-19. Currently, there is no state law that mandates vaccines and the governor hasn't indicated plans to do so.