Irvin D. Reid Honors College in the news

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Kroger, Target, Trader Joe's among companies offering COVID-19 vaccine incentives

Several companies have now made public their efforts to get workers vaccinated, including offering one-time bonuses and other financial incentives for employees who opt to get their shot. “Companies do have a lot of leeway in setting their own policies as to whether or not employees are going to have to receive the vaccine, but how the companies go about doing it can matter from a legal perspective," said Lance Gable, an associate professor at Wayne State Law School. It's a scenario not totally unfamiliar, Gable noted, as certain wellness incentives have been challenged in the past on the basis of discrimination. But the unique rollout of the COVID vaccine poses some never-before-seen problems too, he said. “There are separate issues about whether that is different if the vaccine has only been approved under Emergency Use Authorization. A mandatory vaccination requirement for a COVID vaccine could be permissible under federal law but only if employers put in place potential exceptions and accommodations," said Gable, citing EEOC guidance. In the EEOC's most recent guidance on wellness incentives, Gable said, it notes that any gifts or incentives companies offer should be modest, like a small gift card, lunch, or the cost of a ride, for example. Gable believes additional guidance will likely come out as the vaccine rollout continues.
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The lessons other Democracies can teach our own

On this Inauguration Day, all Americans are faced with some grave questions about the past four years and where we’re headed as a nation deeply divided. So many of us are learning just how fragile democracy can be. But clearly, we’re not the first country to learn these lessons. Former Wayne State University President Irvin D. Reid has been exploring democracies in Africa, what sustains them, and what threatens them. He’s the producer and narrator of the upcoming documentary, “African Democracy: Hopes and Challenges.” He’ll be talking about his work on this subject Thursday at 6 p.m. as part of a Wayne State University virtual Knowledge on Tap event, which will be moderated by Wayne State University Irvin D. Reid Honors College Dean John Corvino. Reid says the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol represents a grave challenge for democracy here in America. But he says other countries have demonstrated ways we can work toward addressing the issues that led to the riot. “We need to have a commission after what happened two weeks ago,” he says. “Somebody has to do some sort of reconciliation, some sort of truth-telling about how did that come about.” Corvino will moderate Thursday’s event. He says it’s a timely discussion as Americans realize that a functioning democracy is not guaranteed. “We think we’re so advanced,” says Corvino. “Democracy is a fragile thing, and I think we’re realizing that now.”