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Can employers in Maine require COVID-19 vaccine for employees?

An attorney in Portland and his colleague created a set of guidelines for employers in Maine considering a vaccine mandate for employees.

PORTLAND, Maine — With distribution efforts of the coronavirus vaccine ramping up, so are the questions surrounding whether employers in Maine can require employees to receive the vaccine.

The short answer is yes.

Peter Lowe, an attorney with Brann & Isaacson in Portland, and his colleague actually created a set of guidelines for folks earlier this year regarding a vaccine mandate for employers.

"We know whether it’s in schools, whether it’s in business, whether it’s in government...police departments -- they’re all going to be asking this question," Lowe said. "You know, what should we be doing, what can we do, what can we require?"

While an employer is legally allowed to mandate vaccines among employees, Lowe doesn't expect to see Maine take such a strong stance. He says fields like healthcare are more likely to mandate the vaccine versus those fields that aren’t at such a high risk. 

And if an employee doesn't want to receive one?

"Employers are going to work with that employee to see whether an exception can be made," Lowe said.

If an employer is considering a mandate, Lowe said there are a few things to keep in mind.

"There is no one-size-fits-all," Lowe said. "It’s really looking at what your business is, what your operation is, what your resources are then, if nothing else, put safety and the well-being of the employees and people that come in at your highest priority."

Lowe expects to see guidelines surrounding vaccine mandates on both a state and federal level in the coming weeks.

To see the full version of the guidelines, click here.

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