Alan Dershowitz: ‘Can Your Employer Force You to Take a Vaccine if You Have Objections to It?’

Craig Bannister | December 16, 2020 | 4:46pm EST
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Alan Dershowitz
(Getty Images/Lior Mizrahi)

”Can your employer force you to take a vaccine if you have objections to It?” renowned Civil Rights Attorney Alan Dershowitz asks - and answers.

“I will tell you when the answer to that is ‘Yes,’ when it’s ‘No’ – and when it’s ‘Maybe,’ Dershowitz promises, introducing his latest podcast of “The Dershow.”

Dershowitz says he’s especially concerned about the safety and potential harm of the coronavirus vaccine, because his grandson, a medical school student, is going to be one of the first to take it. “There are lot of questions,” he says.

“Now, here’s the problem: not everybody is going to want it,” Dershowitz says.

People in some parts of the country and those in certain groups may be less likely to want it, which Dershowitz says raises the following question:

“Should employers have the power to compel their employees to be vaccinated?”

Naturally, employers want their customers and employees to be safe and employers have, for years, required other types of vaccines. Still, a number of arguments could be made against employer-mandated coronavirus vaccinations.

Dershowitz says he doubts that an employee would win a case by claiming either philosophical or religious objections to taking the vaccine, though there’s always that chance.

“I challenge anybody to state a religious objection to it. I don’t think there is one. But, if you think there is one, please accept my challenge,” Dershowitz said, inviting views to call in to his live podcast. Religions, he says, don’t tend to require their followers to reject live-saving provisions.

Also, a disproportionate number of African-Americans, for example, could refuse to be vaccinated and, thus, cause a disproportionate number of this minority to lose their jobs, if there’s an employer mandate. This could pose a legal problem, even if this adverse effect on a minority group is unintended.

Still, regardless of any negative views of pharmaceutical companies, Dershowitz said, President Donald Trump’s Operation Warp Speed should be praised for so quickly producing the coronavirus vaccine:

“You just, in general, have got to praise Operation Warp Speed and the quickness with which this vaccine, which we hope will work, has come to market.”


“It’s been only really nine, ten months and we may see the vaccine being delivered to my grandson, to other doctors, to other frontline people.”

Dershowitz also discusses the issues arising from employer-provided incentives to get vaccinated and the influence of unions regarding any employer mandates.

“This is not going to be an easy passage,” Dershowitz says. “We hope that it will go smoothly, but we know that we have to anticipate all the legal, moral, ethical, political problems that will arise.”

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