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Showing posts with label religious exemption vaccine mandates. Show all posts
Showing posts with label religious exemption vaccine mandates. Show all posts

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Attorney Andrew Lieb Clarifies Vaccine Mandate Accommodation Rights on Pix11


Attorney Andrew Lieb was interviewed on PIX 11 New York clarifying the preliminary injunction requiring NYS to provide healthcare workers with a religious accommodation mechanism to the vaccine mandate. 

Monday, September 20, 2021

Podcast | Social Media Posts Can Disprove Your Religious Exemption For Vaccine Mandates

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

What is a Sincerely Held Religious Belief?

We have been inundated with calls this morning, since Andrew Lieb's appearances on Fox 5, LI News Radio, and WFAN this past week so we thought it was important to put some general information out there for those seeking a vaccine exemption based upon sincerely held religious beliefs. 


To be clear, a sincerely held religious belief DOES NOT automatically get you an exemption from a vaccination requirement.

Instead, your religious belief will, at best, get you an adjustment (known as an accommodation) to a vaccine requirement if such adjustment does not create an undue hardship for your employer. 


Let's break that down a little further.


First, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) tells us what a sincerely held religious belief is means here. In summary, a sincerely held religious belief "concerns 'ultimate ideas' about 'life, purpose, and death.' Social, political, or economic philosophies, as well as mere personal preferences, are not 'religious'," 


As a result, if you want to claim a religious exemption, DO NOT make vaccine mandates POLITICAL. Instead, make your objection to vaccines SOLELY about your vision for life, purpose, and death. 


Moreover, don't be defeated if you are not a practicing member of an organized religion or if your religious leaders disagree with your ultimate ideas. Specifically, EEOC tells us that "new, uncommon, [beliefs, which are] not part of a formal church or sect, [and] only subscribed to by a small number of people, or that seem illogical or unreasonable to others" also qualify.  


That being said, there is another prong to the law that is being lost in the conversation today. 


An exemption to a vaccination requirement need only be given if it does not present an undue hardship to your employer.


Under federal law, employers are in the driver's seat because an undue hardship is anything that creates more than a de minimis cost. So, unless a worker works from home and wants to continue to work from home it will be a challenge to find a vaccine accommodation request that qualifies. Barriers, masks, tests, changed hours, modified locations, and the like will likely pose more than a de minimis cost and therefore, an accommodation request can be denied. But, that is ONLY under federal law. 


States, like New York, afford workers with more rights. In New York, a worker should receive an accommodation unless it imposes a significant expense or difficulty on an employer. That being said, accommodations that compromise the safety of others, such as co-works, customers, and the public, at large, always create undue hardships on employers. Therefore, workers should be highly conscious of public health when making their requests.


Putting this all together, a worker should carefully draft their accommodation request form and emphasize that they truly have a sincerely held religious belief by focusing away from politics and instead, on such issues as life, purpose, and death. Then, a worker's request should suggest alternatives to the vaccine such as limiting contact with others, regular COVID testing, and masking. Then, if the worker gets denied, they will have a good case for employment discrimination, which can and should be filed in court.


If that is the route that you are thinking, please hire a lawyer from the get go. Get any employment lawyer, at the start of it, because you are going to need to ensure that your initial accommodation request form (and other communications) do not kill your case before it's filed. You are also well advised to keep your politics out of it, out of social media, and away from your daily conversations. If you are truly seeking a religious exemption, politics aren't what is relevant, your right to worship freely is what matters.