What to Do When Your Employees Claim a Religious Exemption to Vaccines

UPDATED with the correct link!

What do you, as a business owner or HR professional, when you have an employee claiming that their sincerely held belief prevents them from receiving the Covid-19 vaccination? It’s not easy, but here is what you need to do.

Have a standardized form.

This is where you want documentation and consistency. The Safer Federal Workforce website (a website for federal contractors) gives a sample form for an employee to request a religious exemption. It has seven questions:

  1. Please describe the nature of your objection to the COVID-19 vaccination requirement.
  2. Would complying with the COVID-19 vaccination requirement substantially burden your religious exercise? If so, please explain how.
  3. How long have you held the religious belief underlying your objection?

To keep reading, click here: What to Do When Your Employees Claim a Religious Exemption to Vaccines

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19 thoughts on “What to Do When Your Employees Claim a Religious Exemption to Vaccines

  1. I am genuinely curious about which religions ban vaccines. And about how, even if the religion says it’s OK, a member of that religion can still claim that his religious beliefs keep him from the vax.

    Does that mean I can be accommodated for my sincerely-held belief that I should be paid as much as men are paid? Or just be paid more, period?

    1. I hold that belief too, haha.

      All the world’s major religions have declared they’re in favor of vaccination. Personally, I don’t think there is a legitimate religious objection—it’s anti-science ignorance and misinformation. While you have a right to make your own health decisions, this is not like Jehovah’s Witnesses refusing to accept blood products. That only influences their own health outcomes. As Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy explained in an Instagram Live discussion with actor (and licensed physician) Ken Jeong, in this case, your choice does affect other people.

      If you want to skip the vax and accept masking and testing requirements set by your workplace, then fine. Fill out the paperwork and follow the rules. Otherwise, you’d better either get over it and educate yourself or start looking for another job. And good luck; people are running out of patience for this squidpoop.

      1. Thanks for calling me squidpoop. By the way I have antibodies – natural immunity and someone saying ‘well it’s just gooder if you get the vaccine too’ isn’t convincing me. So I will test – the problem is that even though the vaccinated can get it and transmit it, I am still squidpoop and those who call us names like that really don’t want us to be masked and tested – they would much rather feel superior as we are handcuffed and drug away from our ability to earn a living.

        I am hoping that natural immunity will be studied further – after all it is science. More and more people are talking about it – but until there is more I remain squidpoop.

        1. Thus far, the preliminary studies comparing immunity from having COVID to immunity from the vaccinations shows that both provide some immunity for at least 6 months, but that the immunity from vaccination is, generally, more uniform and reliably robust. The greatest immunity appears to come from both having COVID and being vaccinated.

          1. I had covid in February and was just tested for antibodies less than a month ago. By the way – the latest positive covids in my place of business were ALL VACCINATED. Every single one. I was exposed to 3 of them.

            I will test but will not get vaccinated as long as I have natural immunity.

            1. Well, if you’ve recently been exposed to COVID cases among vaccinated people, you really need to get vaccinated, since the immunity provided by vaccination is, generally, stronger and more reliable than that conferred by having the disease. Those who have both had the disease AND been vaccinated have the strongest immunity of all. Good luck to you!

        2. I don’t want you arrested, squidpoop, but your refusal to get vaccinated is ruining it for the rest of us.

          BTW – how do you feel about “natural immunity” for polio, smallpox, and diphtheria?

          1. Well I haven’t had polio, smallpox, or diptheria so not sure what your point is? I have HAD covid and have the antibodies – proved by a lab test so ????

    2. For most people I’ve heard object to the Covid vaccines, the moral issue is that the vaccines were all developed using tissue from abortions. To my knowledge this is not true of most traditional vaccines or drugs.

      I recommend use of the draft religious-objection letter you can find at vivabarneslaw.locals.com.

      1. The testing of potential drugs using tissue from decades-old abortions is pretty common, and was used in the development of many vaccines and drugs in the past 40 years. The abortions were not performed in order to obtain those tissues. Nor, does the use of those tissues require or encourage new abortions. However, the use of those tissues in ongoing medical research is one of the societal benefits from what is otherwise — normally — a private medical procedure.

      2. That’s actually not true – many commonly used medications were developed or tested using cell lines derived from fetal tissue. acetaminophen, albuterol, aspirin, ibuprofen, Pepto Bismol, Tums, Lipitor, Senokot, Motrin, Maalox, Ex-Lax, Benadryl, Sudafed, Preparation H, Claritin, Prilosec, Zoloft….

  2. I don’t happen to believe that allowing an employee to work from home is — necessarily — the end-all win-win solution for both the employee and the employer. Even if the unvaccinated employee works from home, they’re still at a much higher risk — compared to their vaccinated peers — of contracting the disease, being unable to work, requiring expensive treatment (including medications, hospitalization, intensive care, ventilation, etc., which can raise the workplace’s insurance premiums), and dying. All of those prospects pose more than a de minimus hardship on the employer, which is the legal test for whether or not a religious accommodation is “reasonable.”

    1. By that logic, an employer should be able to ban employees – on their own time – playing in amateur sports, riding motorcycles (or driving cars, for that matter), skiing, skydiving, or a host of other recreational activities.

      Which brings us to the current difficulties many employers have in hiring people.

      1. By and large, those other activities don’t endanger a lot of other people, lead to lengthy hospitalizations and cause a resulting spike in insurance premiums. I don’t think vaccine mandates are the major reason employers have difficulties in hiring people. The remaining prevalence of COVID-19 itself (making people want to work from home, or in less customer-facing environments), the deaths of over 700,000 Americans, the fact that so many parents — especially women — had to drop out of the workforce due to child care or remote learning issues, and the slowing of immigration to a mere trickle would all seem to be greater factors.

  3. Having a standardized form will eliminate getting questionable statements printed or written by anyone. I view it as a similar form for those “emotional support” animals. The employee who does request this form, also has to realize the consequences of possible restrictions for their unvaccinated state in the workplace during working hours. They should also realize that they may have more testing requirements than those who are vaccinated and may need more quarantine time. This work requirement is the same as the mandates for school vaccines–get the vaccine or deal with the consequences of not getting vaccinated. Maybe down the road as we get more research on the immunity process (differences between recovered individuals versus vaccinated individuals) there will be modifications to the mandate, but right now, we deal with choosing to work or not with the rules in place for employment,

  4. Thanks for such an interesting read. I always wondered how employers managed religiously claiming employees. I’m sure I will implement this one day.

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