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West Virginia Vaccine Mandate Requirements

On October 22, 2021, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice signed a bill (HB 335) which clarifies that any government or private business that wishes to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine must also allow exemptions to that mandate for medical or religious reasons. The law is effective January 18, 2022.

Any employer that requires employees or applicants to get the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment or hire must allow them an exemption from it if they present:

  • A certificate signed by a physician, or an advanced practice licensed registered nurse who did an in-person examination of them, stating that their physical condition is such that a COVID-19 immunization is contraindicated, there exists a specific precaution to the mandated vaccine, or that they developed COVID-19 antibodies from being exposed to the virus or they suffered from and recovered from it; or
  • A notarized certificate from the employee or applicant stating that their religious beliefs prevent them from getting vaccinated.

Employers cannot penalize or discriminate against an employee or applicant for exercising their rights under the law.

Next Steps for Employers

Employers should ensure that they engage in the interactive process with employees who request a reasonable accommodation due to disability or religion. Proper documentation should be maintained throughout this process.

Employers are also encouraged to consult their legal counsel for additional guidance on whether they are subject to this guidance and for assistance with reasonable accommodations obligations.

HR Works, headquartered in Upstate New York, is a human resource management outsourcing and consulting firm serving clients throughout the United States for over thirty years. HR Works provides scalable strategic human resource management and consulting services, including: affirmative action programs; benefits administration outsourcing; HRIS self-service technology; full-time, part-time and interim on-site HR managers; HR audits; legally reviewed employee handbooks and supervisor manuals; talent management and recruiting services; and training of managers and HR professionals.