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Chicago Enacts COVID-19 Vaccine Anti-Retaliation and Time Off Ordinance

The City of Chicago recently enacted the Chicago COVID-19 Vaccine Anti-Retaliation Ordinance.

The Vaccine Anti-Retaliation Ordinance allows workers in Chicago – including independent contractors — to get vaccinated during a scheduled “shift,” requires pay for hours taken to get vaccinated (if an employer mandates the vaccine), and prohibits retaliation for getting vaccinated during a scheduled shift.

Specifically, the Chicago Vaccine Anti-Retaliation Ordinance provides as follows:

  1. An employer may not require that a worker only be vaccinated during “non-shift” hours or retaliate against a worker for taking time during a “shift” to get vaccinated. A “shift” is defined as “the consecutive hours an Employer schedules a Worker to work, including Employer-approved meal periods and rest periods.”

  2. An employer must allow a worker to use accrued paid sick leave or other paid time off to get vaccinated.

  3. If an employer requires a worker to get vaccinated, the employer must compensate the worker for the time, up to four hours per dose, if the vaccine appointment is during a “shift,” and the employer cannot require the worker to use accrued paid sick leave or paid time off to cover the hours missed to get vaccinated.

The Ordinance provides that Employers found to have violated this Ordinance will be liable for “a fine of between $1,000 and $5,000,” but the Ordinance provides no further detail regarding how any potential fine is to be calculated. Additionally, workers subject to a violation of this Ordinance may recover in a civil action reinstatement to either the same position held before the retaliatory action or to an equivalent position, damages equal to three times the full amount of wages that would have been owed had the retaliatory action not taken place, as well as any other actual damages and attorney’s fees.

The bottom line is this:  Chicago employers should review their company policies to ensure that they do not run afoul of these newly enacted worker protections.

©2023 Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 132

About this Author

Peter Steinmeyer, Labor Attorney, Epstein Becker Law Firm

PETER A. STEINMEYER is a Member of the Firm in the Labor and Employment practice of Epstein Becker Green and serves as the Chicago office Managing Shareholder. Practicing in all aspects of labor and employment law, he is also Co-Chair of the firm's Non-Competes, Unfair Competition and Trade Secrets Practice Group.

Mr. Steinmeyer advises clients on the enforcement and drafting of non-compete, non-solicitation, and employment agreements, litigates trade secret, non-compete, non-solicitation, raiding, and other restrictive covenant matters in...


Angel Perez is dedicated to assisting employers in a number of sensitive matters, including trade secrets and cannabis in the workplace. He understands that a trade secrets crisis can be a disaster for a business if not handled decisively, and clients value his responsiveness and transparent communication. And as cannabis is a new and still-developing field of law, Angel helps employers navigate it with the adaptability and care needed to avoid legal exposure while knowing their rights. He also counsels employers on avoiding disputes over matters stemming from employee...