x
Breaking News
More () »

Can you be fired for not following an employer vaccine mandate in SC?

Our experts say, you probably can in South Carolina.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — With the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine now FDA approved, a growing number of businesses are requiring employees to get the shots, or face losing their job.

But, is that legal?

News19 reached out to a law professor, an attorney and the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce to learn more.

Both law professionals say it is legal and you could lose your job.

RELATED: FDA gives full approval to Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

"For private employers, which is the vast majority of employees out there, if your employer requires as a condition of your employment that you receive the vaccine, in the state of South Carolina, there’s nothing that you can do about that," University of South Carolina Law Professor Joseph Seiner said.

But, Attorney Grant Burnette LeFever with the Burnette Shutt and McDaniel law firm said there could be an exception.

“...If an employee who does fall within a protected class such as an employee with a disability or a sincerely held religious belief preventing them from receiving the vaccine…that employee does have options, specifically filing a charge of discrimination," LeFever said.

RELATED: Pentagon: US troops must get their COVID-19 vaccines ASAP

Whether or not you can get unemployment benefits is a bit more unclear.

In a statement to News19, the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce said, "Because an individual's eligibility for UI is dependent on so many factors, it is impossible to give a definitive answer without adjudicating the person's claim for benefits.  Each claim will get a case-by-case determination. In general, UI benefits are provided for individuals who have lost their job through no fault of their own. There is no "one size fits all" answer to the question of whether a person who is fired for not complying with a business's mandatory vaccination policy would be eligible for benefits."

RELATED: CVS Health, Chevron mandate COVID vaccines for some employees

So, when it comes to vaccine mandates and the workplace, our experts say your options are likely limited.

"You basically have two choices, either become vaccinated, get vaccinated or look for other employment," Professor Seiner said.