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COVID-19 Vaccines Pose Questions for Employers

By: Kim Shindle on in

The Pennsylvania Department of Health recently announced its phased COVID vaccination plan for when people in the commonwealth can be vaccinated based on recommendations from the CDC based on risk assessments. Real estate professionals are not specifically mentioned on either the CDC or the DOH guidelines.

“PAR is reaching out to the Department of Health for further clarification on the lists provided and we’re talking with a coalition of other organizations looking to receive additional information,” PAR CEO Mike McGee said.

As COVID-19 vaccines are approved and distributed across the country, many employers – including real estate brokers – are considering whether they can and/or should require vaccinations for their workers. Extensive EEOC guidance has been boiled down by NAR to cover the issues of most importance to brokers.

PAR Staff Attorney Kacy Clouser said the issue is a complicated one and cautions that brokers will need to discuss any proposed mandates with their brokerage counsel before moving forward.

“It is possible for brokers to mandate vaccines – both for staff and for agents who work as independent contractors – but such a requirement can potentially be affected by several different state and federal laws,” Clouser said. “PAR is not taking a position on whether a broker should or should not impose such a mandate, but is providing facts so brokers can make an informed decision after talking with their counsel. I can’t stress strongly enough that brokers should consult with their attorney before implementing any such policy.”

Visit PAR’s coronavirus resource page for an extensive vaccine FAQ.

Foreclosure Moratorium and Forbearance Period Extended

President Joe Biden recently announced an extension of the foreclosure moratorium and the forbearance period for mortgages backed by HUD, VA and USDA through June 30. Separately, the Federal Housing Finance Agency extended the foreclosure and eviction moratorium period until March 31, as well as forbearance period by three months for mortgages held by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

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Comments (2)

Comments

  • Ryan Thomas   January 19, 2021 at 10:43 am

    Thanks for the article. I do wonder what the liability issues are when requiring a vaccine. If say 1000 real estate agents, just in York and Adams Counties all get a vaccine and one of them gets a serious negative reaction to it, then it seems there would be grounds for a law suit. In an industry that has no history of doing such a thing, decides to put pressure on independent contractors to get the vaccine or lose their career. Then the broker, PAR, and the state could all be liable for vaccine injuries. If that happens, will there be a negative impact to the rest of the members? In my area, you also have the two largest hospitals announce that they will not require it of their employees. I would be extremely surprised if PAR or my broker tried to require it. But for the sake of conversation, I think it would be a very risky move.

    Reply to Ryan Thomas
    • Hank Lerner, Esq.   January 19, 2021 at 11:49 am

      Just to be crystal clear, in no circumstance could (or would) PAR attempt to implement any sort of a vaccination policy for individual members at the state level. This information is being provided simply to ensure that all PAR members (especially brokers) are aware of the most current employment-related vaccine information that’s available. As noted in the article, PAR is not taking any position on what approach brokers should take, and as you see here and in the FAQs, no brokers should move forward with any aspects of a vaccine policy without first consulting with their own attorneys.

      Reply to Hank Lerner, Esq.

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