COVID-19 Vaccine

Asking Workers If They've Been Vaccinated a Civil Rights Violation, Businesswoman Says

NBC Universal, Inc.

A local businesswoman says Santa Clara County's new vaccine guidelines for employers are a violation of civil rights, especially the rule that employers must determine whether employees have been vaccinated.

"The way the order is written, it seems that there is an unequal policy, an unequal treatment of people who are vaccinated versus unvaccinated," said Christina Hildebrand, founder of the group A Voice for Choice Advocacy.

Hildebrand, a small business owner, said an employee might have religious reasons not to vaccinate or might not want to disclose the medical decision for privacy reasons.

She said forcing them to disclose or separating them for not being vaccinated is a violation of state and federal civil rights.

So far, the group has sent a letter to Santa Clara County asking them to clarify the order.

"We may escalate it," Hildebrand said. "We’re waiting to get a response from the public health department."

Santa Clara County said it is simply following the state order on reporting who's been vaccinated, saying the decision is out of their hands.

It's worth noting that some forms allow people to say they refuse to provide their vaccination status, but they will likely be classified as unvaccinated.

Vineet Jain, CEO of local tech company Egnyte, said that could mean different rules or people being asked to continue to work from home.

"We absolutely will have to ask, 'Do you have the vaccination or not?'" Jain said. "That's step one. Step two would be,' Are we comfortable in having the non-vaccination people walk in?' Because the rest of the crew might be uncomfortable."

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