Adopted by the Board of Library Trustees September 28, 2021 and related to the library’s COVID-19 Response Plan for Buildings and Services.
The Oak Park Public Library recognizes its responsibility to provide staff members a workplace free of recognized hazards. This policy is intended to maximize the protection afforded by the COVID-19 vaccine. The goal of this program is to protect staff members, staff members’ family members, patrons, visitors, others affiliated with us, and the broader community. This policy is intended to follow all state and local laws. It is based upon guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and public health and licensing authorities, as applicable.
As a condition of employment, all staff members of the library must receive a COVID-19 vaccine. This policy does not cover volunteers, customers, patrons, and visitors.
If a staff member has not obtained the vaccine or received an approved exemption within the timeframes outlined below, the staff member may not report to work on-site.
Staff members working remotely are expected to observe these guidelines as a condition to accessing any library premises.
Newly hired staff members will be required to supply proof of immunization or receive an approved exemption during the onboarding process. Staff members who fail to do so may be terminated, subject to applicable law.
Staff members should contact their appropriate Public Health Department to obtain vaccination updates and information about vaccination sites:
- Chicago Department of Public Health
- Cook County Department of Public Health
- Oak Park Department of Public Health
Staff members may also be able to obtain vaccine availability information from their health care providers. Vaccinations should be run through staff members’ health insurance where applicable or otherwise submitted for reimbursement to the Office Specialist if there is a cost.
All staff members will be granted paid time off work to receive their vaccination(s) and recover from any adverse reactions caused by receiving the vaccine as needed. Staff members are to work with their managers when scheduling a time to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine.
To be compliant with this requirement, staff members must do one of the following:
- Provide the library with proof of immunization within the specified timeframe. Proof of immunization must include a copy of documentation showing the vaccine was received, but it should not include any personal health information or family medical history information; or
- Comply with the designated procedure for obtaining a permissible exemption as described in this policy.
Staff members will notify the library once they have received the COVID-19 vaccine by responding to the COVID-19 Vaccination Reporting email sent by Human Resources with one of three possible responses:
- Yes, I have received the COVID-19 vaccine (attach or submit a copy of proof of vaccination to Human Resources).
- No, I have not yet received the COVID-19 vaccine shot but will do so on [DATE].
- I am requesting an Exemption (medical or religious, see below section “Exemptions”).
Individuals responding “Yes” will receive a confirmation email. Individuals responding “No” will receive an email with key dates and information about the guidelines for complying with this policy. Additionally, they will receive a follow-up email within 10 days. Individuals requesting an exemption will receive an email directing them to the proper next steps (see below section “Exemptions”).
Confidentiality and respect for our staff members’ rights are important to us.
The library will not:
- Use any genetic information, disability status, or information regarding religious beliefs to disadvantage its staff members in any way;
- Use incentives in exchange for genetic information, information regarding a staff member’s health condition or that of their family, or information on the staff member’s religious beliefs; or
- Try to coerce staff members into supplying health/genetic/religious belief information or taking medical examinations.
Key staff within Human Resources and the Leadership Team will have access to dashboards to check compliance. Records documenting vaccinations and declinations will be maintained by Human Resources. All information received under this policy will be kept confidential to the greatest extent possible. Sharing of information shall be based on a need-to-know basis and only to the level required to notify management personnel regarding those staff members who are not in compliance with this policy or have received an exemption.
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) prohibits employers and other entities covered by GINA Title II from requesting or requiring genetic information of an individual or family member of the individual, except as specifically allowed by this law. To comply with this law, we are asking that you not provide any genetic information when providing information in accordance with this policy. “Genetic information,” as defined by GINA, includes an individual’s family medical history, the results of an individual’s or family member’s genetic tests, the fact that an individual or an individual’s family member sought or received genetic services, and genetic information of a fetus carried by an individual or an individual’s family member or an embryo lawfully held by an individual or family member receiving assistive reproductive services.
Staff members may request an exemption from the mandatory COVID-19 vaccine program by submitting an exemption request form, as outlined below, for: 1) disability/medical contraindications or precautions, or 2) a religious belief. All staff members should note that personal and/or philosophical objections to vaccinations are not considered sufficient justification for granting an exemption from the mandatory COVID-19 vaccine program.
Staff members requesting exemptions from the required COVID-19 vaccine program due to a disability/medical contraindication/precaution or religious belief must submit an exemption request form to the Director of Human Resources who will review each exemption request on an individual basis and consider approval of any such request.
The following instructions should be followed, depending on the type of exemption requested:
- Disability/Medical Exemption: If a staff member has a disability and/or medical condition that presents a contraindication to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, they must complete the medical exemption request form and attach the relevant supporting medical documentation from their licensed treating provider as shown in the medical exemption form.
- Religious Exemption: If a staff member declines a COVID-19 vaccine because it conflicts with a sincerely held religious belief, the staff member must complete the religious exemption request form. Staff members may be asked to supply documentation that explains the specific faith-based teachings that oppose immunizations.
Designated personnel of the library will engage in an interactive dialogue with all staff members requesting an exemption to determine if there is a reasonable accommodation that can be provided unless providing a reasonable accommodation would result in undue hardship to the library or poses a direct threat to the health and/or safety of others in the workplace and/or to the requesting staff member. The Director of Human Resources will notify the staff member and manager of the decision about an exemption request.
All staff members receiving an exemption are responsible for understanding and accepting the consequences of the exemption, which may include required work restrictions.
After engaging in the interactive process, if the library is unable to provide a reasonable accommodation without causing undue hardship, the staff member has 30 days from notification of the denial of the exemption to comply by being immunized.
The library will only reconsider a denial if the staff member supplies new information supporting their request. For reconsideration of a denial, please contact the Executive Director.
No staff member requesting an exemption to the mandatory COVID-19 vaccine program will be harassed, discriminated or retaliated against for making such a request or being granted an exemption. If a staff member believes that they have been treated in a manner contrary to this policy, please notify the Director of Human Resources immediately.
Consequences of Non-Compliance
All persons covered under this policy shall be aware that compliance is a condition of employment and/or access to Oak Park Public Library facilities. Staff members who do not certify that they have received the COVID-19 vaccine or have an approved exemption will not have access to the library’s non-public facilities.
After 60 days, if the staff member has not provided documentation of vaccination or completed an exemption, they may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination. Staff members not in compliance with this policy will be placed on unpaid leave until their employment status is decided by the library’s Executive Director after consultation with the Director of Human Resources.
Right to Change or Terminate Policy
If vaccine shortages occur and/or if CDC or government officials’ recommendations are altered, the library may change, suspend, or revoke all or part of this policy.
The effective date of this Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccine Program Policy and Procedure is September 29, 2021. This policy will be reviewed after six months.