Some unvaccinated Virginia employees can opt out of weekly COVID-19 testing - here's how

Generic COVID-19 test
Posted at 5:22 PM, Sep 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-02 17:37:51-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - As of September 1, all employees and contractors for the state of Virginia who are not working remotely must disclose their vaccine status in accordance with an executive order issued by the governor.

Those who are not fully vaccinated or who refuse to disclose their vaccine status must get weekly COVID-19 testing and wear a mask while indoors.

The Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM) issued guidance for employees who have religious or medical accommodation requests and want to opt out of the weekly testing requirements.

DHRM guidance states human resources should normally presume the employee's request for religious accommodation is sincerely held, but documentation can be requested and employers should accept that religious beliefs are susceptible to change over time.

However, beliefs based on social, political or economic philosophies, as well as personal preferences, are not considered religious beliefs under federal law.

As far as medical accommodations, human resources may ask an employee to request documentation from a doctor that identifies the specific medical condition or disability.

Accommodations for medical conditions and disability may include alternative testing options such as throat, cheek or saliva testing.

The Commonwealth is committed to ensuring non-discrimination in our workplace practices. Job accommodations in the workplace are not new. Specific to COVID-19, we are committed to evaluating job accommodation requests if there is a medical condition/disability or a sincerely held religious belief that prevents an employee from COVID-19 testing. Employees will make their request through agency communicated processes and in turn, agencies will evaluate the request based on the specifics of the individual situation. This is intended to be an interactive process involving both the employee and the agency.
DHRM Director Emily S. Elliott

Meanwhile, unvaccinated employees who tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days can also request an accommodation to the testing requirement by providing documentation referencing their positive COVID-19 test results. Testing would then be required at the end of the 90-day period.
Currently, there is no end date for the vaccination and testing requirements for employees.

Exemption forms can be found online here.

Click here for our full COVID vaccination guide.