Can you collect unemployment if you are fired for not getting the COVID-19 vaccine?
DETROIT (FOX 2) - More and more employers are requiring workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
But what if you refuse to take the vaccine, are fired, and try to get unemployment benefits?
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Tony Paris, the lead attorney at the Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice, you might be out of luck.
"This is no different than maintaining a driver's license for a taxi cab driver," Paris said. "Once that becomes a prerequisite of employment it is possible, if not likely, you can be denied unemployment by just having inaction or otherwise refusing to even try to deal with that issue whatsoever."
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He said it's important to remember that each situation is different, and there will be exemptions for medical and religious reasons. How a vaccine policy is communicated is important, too.
"We try to figure out whether or not the employer had a policy that was communicated to the employee, that was uniformly enforced, that had been on the books and given notice to all the employees, and whether or not the employee intentionally disregarded it," he said.
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Paris added that if an employer doesn't have a vaccination policy and instead just told employees to get the vaccine, workers who refuse could have a chance at getting unemployment benefits.
FOX 2 reached out to the Unemployment Insurance Agency to ask about its policy. According to UIA, "Whether an individual is entitled to benefits will have to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. A review will have to be conducted of the employer’s policies, work rules, and the reason that vaccination is required, and the claimant’s reason for refusing the vaccination. Whether the discharged worker is eligible for benefits will depend on factfinding of whether their failure to be vaccinated is determined to be misconduct."