Regardless of occupation, if a worker refuses to get a vaccination and separates from employment, we will review the circumstances of each situation to determine eligibility for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. The decision is based on all the specifics of the worker’s separation from employment, including the refusal as well as possible alternatives that may have been available to the worker.
Each person’s situation is different, and eligibility for UI benefits has to be determined on a case-by-case basis. The only way to know for sure if you qualify for benefits is to APPLY. There is no one-size-fits all answer. However, in general, if your employer has a policy requiring COVID-19 vaccinations, and you are unwilling to get the vaccine or use a reasonable alternative protection if your employer permits it, your claim may be denied.
Your claim also may be denied if you turn down suitable work because the employer requires a vaccine or other alternative form of protection from COVID-19, such as working remotely or wearing a face covering.
Some exceptions apply. You will generally not be denied benefits for refusing to get the vaccine if you have a sincerely held religious belief, are medically unable to get the vaccine, or if a collective bargaining agreement or law exempts you from the vaccination requirement.
We are closely watching for any updated laws, court decisions, or federal guidance that may apply to this rapidly evolving issue.