Businesses question whether they should ask employees’ vaccination status

MADISON, Wis. — After June 2 in Dane County, it will be up to business owners to set their own mask policies. If an employee comes into work without a mask on, it’ll be up to their boss to either trust that they’ve been vaccinated or ask for proof.

“There are some businesses that don’t want to ask their employees. They don’t want to put them in that position by asking that type of information,” said employment attorney Steve DiTullio.

DiTullio said he’s been getting a lot of questions from businesses about what to do next. But with the CDC’s recent guidance saying vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear a mask in most places, employers are forced to decide how to set new policies for both customers and employees.

Even without a mandate from the county or state, businesses can set their own mask requirements.

Many businesses will end up with some employees being masked and some being unmasked.

“Doesn’t that sort of underscore everything that we’re seeing in society right now? With people butting heads over to vaccine or not to vaccine, to mask up or not to mask up,” said DiTullio.

He said the least controversial policy is probably to keep everyone in masks, so there aren’t two separate masked and unmasked groups.

As a customer, the only way to know if unmasked employees are truly vaccinated is to ask a manager about the business’ vaccination policy. Workers such as electricians or plumbers who enter homes could be getting a lot of those questions.

“I have to believe (customers are) going to be asking that question both when they make the appointment and when the person shows up at their house. And they can do that, you don’t have to have somebody in your home that you feel like puts you and your family at risk,” said DiTullio.

DiTullio said the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is working on creating more guidance for businesses, to set a standard for these issues. But that information isn’t expected to be released until next month.