The changing of the leaves, the smell of pumpkin spice, the sound of football – flu season is officially here. While most employers simply recommend that their employees receive a flu vaccination, some have a mandatory flu vaccine policy. Employees who refuse to comply with a mandatory policy may face disciplinary action, or even termination. Whether this is the case or not depends on your state’s mandatory vaccination laws (if it has any), whether you have an employment contract addressing the issue, and whether you have a legal right to an exemption from the policy.
The 2 most common exemptions emanate from the American with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (“Title VII”). The ADA requires employers to provide a reasonable accommodation to an employee if the employee cannot comply with an employer’s policy due to a disability. Thus, employers with mandatory vaccination policies must consider whether an employee with an allergic reaction to the flu shot, or for whom the flu shot poses a threat due to the employee’s disability, must accommodate the employee. An accommodation might be excusing the employee from receiving a flu shot.
Likewise, Title VII mandates that employees are entitled to a reasonable accommodation of their religious beliefs unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship. Whether a religion is “traditional” or even “recognized” is not determinative as to whether Title VII’s protections apply. It is the sincerity of the employee’s belief, and the fact that it is part of a belief system that is determinative. In short, if your sincerely held religious beliefs prohibit you from being vaccinated or seeking medical treatment, you should qualify for an exemption.
The experienced employment attorneys of Humble Law, LLC can assess the facts of your case and determine whether you have a valid basis for requesting an exemption to your employer’s mandatory vaccination policy.
Want to learn more about how our firm can advocate for you during this difficult time? Contact us today.