April 9, 2021

Can a business legally ask to see a customer’s vaccine card?

As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19, you may be wondering if it’s safe to…

As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19, you may be wondering if it’s safe to return to work and whether you can freely cater to customers in person. One way to ease this return is to require that both your customers and employees get vaccinated. But tread lightly, as requiring a vaccine—or even proof of one—can be a minefield for businesses, Inc. reports

In most cases, a business can require employees to get vaccinated, but they will have to make accommodations for employees who don’t get a vaccine due to a particular disability or sincerely held religious objection. The question becomes murkier when it comes to customers. 

In most states, there’s legally nothing stopping you from requesting to see a customer’s vaccine card, says Carrie Hoffman, a partner and employment lawyer at the Dallas-based law firm Foley & Lardner. 

Checking customers’ vaccine cards is up to the employer’s discretion, Hoffman says. If people refuse to present vaccine documentation, you don’t have to serve them. Of course, denying someone entry or service for noncompliance could result in legal action from said individual, as ADA guidelines extend to customers, as well as employees. In other words, you will need to provide reasonable accommodation for the disabled or customers whose religion precludes them from getting vaccinated. Read the full story.