More Jobs Require Vaccination as a Qualification

Job seekers who oppose vaccine mandates have begun to tailor their searches accordingly. The conservative social media website Gab started a No Vax Mandate Job Board, which had about 31,000 members as of Friday. A job website called Red Balloon began last month to “connect employers who value freedom with employees who value it too.”

“We’re taking a stand against this mandatory vaccine trend,” Red Balloon’s founder, Andrew Crapuchettes, said in a YouTube video. “In today’s tight labor market, there are good companies with strong work cultures who want to hire dedicated employees regardless of their health care choices.”

Stephen Gare, a network technician in Florida, started a group on LinkedIn for employers and unvaccinated people to connect. “I’m concerned that there could be a lot of people not wanting to get vaccinated that would be out looking for a job,” Mr. Gare said.

Mr. Gare, who is not vaccinated, is not currently looking for a job but may have to if his company introduces a vaccine mandate, he said. “I would do whatever it takes to live without getting the vaccine,” he said.

It is legal for employers to require vaccines for both current and new employees. And labor lawyers say that companies are allowed to take vaccination status into consideration in most of the country when screening job applicants, even if no formal mandate is in place, because vaccination status is not protected under the Americans With Disabilities Act. But they could still be hit with litigation or run into political opposition as some states pass measures to restrict or ban vaccine mandates.

“You’re going to see that the career trajectories of people will be impacted based on their status,” said Ian Schaefer, a partner at the law firm Loeb & Loeb who specializes in labor issues and has been advising companies on their Covid policies. “And so far, that’s completely permissible.”

The biggest hurdle to vaccine mandates in some industries is the shortage of labor. Few large retailers, for example, have announced mandates for frontline workers over fears of mass departures. And as businesses ramp up for the holiday rush, mandates for new hires have also been rare.