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How to Address COVID-19 Vaccination Conflicts in the Workplace

By Mary Gormandy White, M.A., SHRM-SCP, SPHR

COVID-19's impact on the workplace isn't over yet. As vaccines are made more widely available, employers are faced with new considerations and concerns, including how employees' differing opinions on the coronavirus vaccine could result in conflicts in the workplace. Regardless of your organization's policy on COVID-19 vaccinations, it is time to put a communication plan in place to address concerns and conflicts that may arise surrounding this controversial topic.

Just as employees are likely to have vastly different political beliefs and perceptions, the same is true regarding COVID-19 vaccinations. With such strong differences of opinion and the polarized information that people are exposed to via social media and other sources, conflict is bound to happen.

Don't wait until a problem arises to help supervisors and managers learn to recognize and deal with situations that are not only disruptive, but also pose significant compliance risk to the organization. Preparing now is the key to minimizing the potential for conflicts in the future.

Fortunately, there are steps an employer can take to prepare for and respond to vaccine-related employee conflict.