Earlier this month, Local 32BJ and the Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations, Inc. (“RAB”) entered into a memorandum of agreement (“MOA”) which permits member buildings to require all of its employees be vaccinated against COVID-19. The pertinent provisions of the MOA are:
- An employer must inform employees in writing that the employer is considering such a mandate and, in such notice, request that employees, if they have not already done so, provide information about their vaccination status within one week.
- If an employee is unwilling to get vaccinated, the employee must provide a reason for the employee’s refusal, including whether the employee refuses to get vaccinated due to a religious belief or has a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title VII, or another applicable law.
- If an employee seeks an accommodation due to a religious belief or disability, the employee must provide the employer with the information to evaluate such a request.
- No earlier than two weeks after the employer has requested vaccination information, the employer shall provide notice to Local 32BJ and to its employees of its vaccination policy. The employer can require that the first shot of a two-shot vaccine (or single dose) be administered starting a minimum of four weeks from the date of the notice. It can further require that the second dose of a two-shot vaccine be administered a minimum of 8 weeks from the date of the notice.
- An employee who refuses to get vaccinated and does not fall under an exemption has several options. The employee may: (a) take a four month unpaid leave of absence or (b) be put on a recall list through March 1, 2022 or six months from their last day of work, whichever is later, for recall into the same or a similar position at the building to the extent positions become available and the employee has become fully vaccinated or the vaccination requirement has been lifted by the employer at that building.
- If the unvaccinated employee does not elect one of those options, the employee can be terminated with a “non-disciplinary” termination.
- If an unvaccinated resident superintendent or manager elects one of those options, and the employer asserts that due to coverage issues such leave is not feasible the RAB representing the employer and Local 32BJ, representing the employee, are to meet and attempt to resolve the dispute. If the parties cannot resolve the dispute, the matter will be submitted to arbitration.
An employer prior to or in lieu of a vaccination mandate may provide one-week notice to Local 32BJ and its employees that it will require all unvaccinated employees (those that do fall under an exemption) to submit to PCR testing, up to twice a week, on non-work time. All results must be submitted to the employer.
Employers should be proactive and promptly develop a vaccination plan. We can help guide you through compliance with the MOA, provide you with further details as to the contents contained therein, and address any concerns you may have.
Should you have any questions, please contact Andrew I. Bart, Esq. at [email protected] or at (212) 431-1300 X640.