How to be exempted from mandatory vaccinations

JustinHS

Sparrow
Orthodox
Vax inquisitions are here- This is within a Fed bureau:

1. Please describe the nature of your objection.

2. Would complying substantially burden your religious exercise?

3. How long have you held your religious belief?

4. Please describe whether as an adult you have received any vaccines against any other diseases.

5. If you don’t have a religious objection to the use of all vaccines, please explain why your objection is limited to particular vaxxines.

6. If there are any other medicines or products you don’t use due to religious beliefs, please identify them.

7. Please provide any additional information that may be helpful in reviewing your request.

Some of these questions are downright HIPPA violations. Others are religious tests to hold public office/positions.
 
Vax inquisitions are here- This is within a Fed bureau:

1. Please describe the nature of your objection.

2. Would complying substantially burden your religious exercise?

3. How long have you held your religious belief?

4. Please describe whether as an adult you have received any vaccines against any other diseases.

5. If you don’t have a religious objection to the use of all vaccines, please explain why your objection is limited to particular vaxxines.

6. If there are any other medicines or products you don’t use due to religious beliefs, please identify them.

7. Please provide any additional information that may be helpful in reviewing your request.

Some of these questions are downright HIPPA violations. Others are religious tests to hold public office/positions.
Following up on this.

Intitial template for fedaral religious exemption form:

 

C-Note

Hummingbird
Gold Member
Following up on this.

Intitial template for fedaral religious exemption form:

The law is clear that a person does not have to explain their religious beliefs like this. I would probably respond with a letter from my lawyer explaining that and saying that the exemption is based on personal religious beliefs and that's all the explanation they're going to get.
 

Denam8487

Pigeon
Hey guys, I'm a barred attorney albeit not in employment and labor law but I remember enough from law school. I'm also a federal worker and did some research on this topic over the weekend:

The Supreme Court has made it clear that it is not a court’s role to determine the reasonableness of an individual’s religious beliefs, and that “religious beliefs need not be acceptable, logical, consistent, or comprehensible to others in order to merit First Amendment protection. Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., 573 U.S. 682, 725 (2014); EEOC v. Ilona of Hungary, Inc., 108 F.3d 1569, 1575 (7th Cir. 1997); Cooper v. Oak Rubber Co., 15 F.3d 1375 (6th Cir. 1994); Cunningham v. City of Shreveport, 407 F. Supp. 3d 595, 609-10 (W.D. La. 2019); EEOC v. IBP, Inc., 824 F. Supp. 147, 151 (C.D. Ill. 1993).

"Consistent" being the key phrase. Therefore questions 3-6 are completely moot; only 1 and 2 merit a response.

If you have the spare time, it may be helpful to familiarize yourself with the in's and out's of Section 12 of Title VII.

 
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Denam8487

Pigeon
Hey guys, I'm a barred attorney albeit not in employment and labor law but I remember enough from law school. I'm also a federal worker and did some research on this topic over the weekend:

The Supreme Court has made it clear that it is not a court’s role to determine the reasonableness of an individual’s religious beliefs, and that “religious beliefs need not be acceptable, logical, consistent, or comprehensible to others in order to merit First Amendment protection. Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., 573 U.S. 682, 725 (2014); EEOC v. Ilona of Hungary, Inc., 108 F.3d 1569, 1575 (7th Cir. 1997); Cooper v. Oak Rubber Co., 15 F.3d 1375 (6th Cir. 1994); Cunningham v. City of Shreveport, 407 F. Supp. 3d 595, 609-10 (W.D. La. 2019); EEOC v. IBP, Inc., 824 F. Supp. 147, 151 (C.D. Ill. 1993).

"Consistent" being the key phrase. Therefore questions 3-6 are completely moot; only 1 and 2 merit a response.

If you have the spare time, it may be helpful to familiarize yourself with the in's and out's of Section 12 of Title VII.


From what I'm reading and have heard from others, it sounds like employers are going to attack whether the employee's beliefs are "sincerely held." Accordingly, I drafted this memorandum based on existing law and ensuing commentary. Feel free to familiarize yourself with case law and especially the 4-prong test the EEOC has laid out.

First, whether or not a religious belief is sincerely held by an applicant or employee is rarely at issue in many types of Title VII religious claims.

For example, with respect to an allegation of discriminatory discharge or harassment, it is the motivation of the discriminating official, not the actual beliefs of the individual alleging discrimination, that is relevant in determining if the discrimination that occurred was because of religion. See Dediol v. Best Chevrolet, Inc., 655 F.3d 435, 443 (5th Cir. 2011) (reciting prima facie case for harassment because of religion without reference to inquiry into sincerity of religious belief.)

The sincerity of an employee’s stated religious belief is usually not in dispute and is “generally presumed or easily established.” Cf. Moussazadeh v. Tx. Dep’t of Crim. Just., 703 F.3d 781, 790 (5th Cir. 2012) (case arising under Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA)).

The EEOC has laid out a four-prong test to determine an employee’s sincerity regarding their stated religious beliefs:
  1. Whether the employee has behaved in a manner markedly inconsistent with the professed belief; Hansard v. Johns-Manville Prods. Corp., No. 1902, 1973 WL 129, at *2 (E.D. Tex. Feb. 16, 1973)
  2. Whether the accommodation sought is a particularly desirable benefit that is likely to be sought for secular reasons; Brown v. Gen. Motors Corp., 601 F.2d 956, 960 (8th Cir. 1979)
  3. Whether the timing of the request renders it suspect (e.g., it follows an earlier request by the employee for the same benefit for secular reasons) Union Independiente, 279 F.3d at 57.
  4. Whether the employer otherwise has reason to believe the accommodation is not sought for religious reasons.
However, none of these factors is dispositive. For example, although prior inconsistent conduct is relevant to the question of sincerity, an individual’s beliefs – or degree of adherence – may change over time, and therefore an employee’s newly adopted or inconsistently observed religious practice may nevertheless be sincerely held. See, e.g., EEOC v. Ilona of Hungary, Inc., 108 F.3d 1569, 1575.

Furthermore, an employer should not assume that an employee is insincere simply because some of his or her practices deviate from the commonly followed tenets of his or her religion, or because the employee adheres to some common practices but not others. See Commission Guidelines, 29 C.F.R. § 1605.1; Adeyeye v. Heartland Sweeteners, LLC, 721 F.3d 444, 452-54 (7th Cir. 2013).

And finally, and most importantly, whether the practice is religious is therefore a situational, case-by-case inquiry, focusing not on what the activity is but on whether the employee’s participation in the activity is pursuant to a religious belief. See Davis v. Fort Bend Cnty., 765 F.3d 480, 485, 486-87 (5th Cir. 2014).

I'm planning on fighting this one until the bitter end and I'll keep you posted with whether or not my request is accommodated.
 

DanielH

Ostrich
Orthodox
From what I'm reading and have heard from others, it sounds like employers are going to attack whether the employee's beliefs are "sincerely held." Accordingly, I drafted this memorandum based on existing law and ensuing commentary. Feel free to familiarize yourself with case law and especially the 4-prong test the EEOC has laid out.

First, whether or not a religious belief is sincerely held by an applicant or employee is rarely at issue in many types of Title VII religious claims.

For example, with respect to an allegation of discriminatory discharge or harassment, it is the motivation of the discriminating official, not the actual beliefs of the individual alleging discrimination, that is relevant in determining if the discrimination that occurred was because of religion. See Dediol v. Best Chevrolet, Inc., 655 F.3d 435, 443 (5th Cir. 2011) (reciting prima facie case for harassment because of religion without reference to inquiry into sincerity of religious belief.)

The sincerity of an employee’s stated religious belief is usually not in dispute and is “generally presumed or easily established.” Cf. Moussazadeh v. Tx. Dep’t of Crim. Just., 703 F.3d 781, 790 (5th Cir. 2012) (case arising under Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA)).

The EEOC has laid out a four-prong test to determine an employee’s sincerity regarding their stated religious beliefs:
  1. Whether the employee has behaved in a manner markedly inconsistent with the professed belief; Hansard v. Johns-Manville Prods. Corp., No. 1902, 1973 WL 129, at *2 (E.D. Tex. Feb. 16, 1973)
  2. Whether the accommodation sought is a particularly desirable benefit that is likely to be sought for secular reasons; Brown v. Gen. Motors Corp., 601 F.2d 956, 960 (8th Cir. 1979)
  3. Whether the timing of the request renders it suspect (e.g., it follows an earlier request by the employee for the same benefit for secular reasons) Union Independiente, 279 F.3d at 57.
  4. Whether the employer otherwise has reason to believe the accommodation is not sought for religious reasons.
However, none of these factors is dispositive. For example, although prior inconsistent conduct is relevant to the question of sincerity, an individual’s beliefs – or degree of adherence – may change over time, and therefore an employee’s newly adopted or inconsistently observed religious practice may nevertheless be sincerely held. See, e.g., EEOC v. Ilona of Hungary, Inc., 108 F.3d 1569, 1575.

Furthermore, an employer should not assume that an employee is insincere simply because some of his or her practices deviate from the commonly followed tenets of his or her religion, or because the employee adheres to some common practices but not others. See Commission Guidelines, 29 C.F.R. § 1605.1; Adeyeye v. Heartland Sweeteners, LLC, 721 F.3d 444, 452-54 (7th Cir. 2013).

And finally, and most importantly, whether the practice is religious is therefore a situational, case-by-case inquiry, focusing not on what the activity is but on whether the employee’s participation in the activity is pursuant to a religious belief. See Davis v. Fort Bend Cnty., 765 F.3d 480, 485, 486-87 (5th Cir. 2014).

I'm planning on fighting this one until the bitter end and I'll keep you posted with whether or not my request is accommodated.
This is going in my exemption document, sincerely, thank you
 

Denam8487

Pigeon
This is going in my exemption document, sincerely, thank you

Happy to help. I’ll post more of my research as I go along. I submitted my request which will undergo review starting October 18. My agency looks like it isn’t going to litigate the “sincere belief” issue but rather look at reasonable accommodations. Given that I’ve been full remote for the last 19 months, we’ll see whether my agency is going to operate in good faith regarding exemptions.

The path of least resistance would be to accommodate any full time remote workers since they don’t present a direct threat but we’ll see.
 

DanielH

Ostrich
Orthodox
Which part exactly are you going to use? I have to submit document in the next couple of days and am scrambling
The parts about the religious beliefs not needing to appear consistent, and the part about how religious beliefs must be presumed to be genuine.
 

Denam8487

Pigeon
Found an interesting take on the religious exemption, not by claiming a particular faith or set of beliefs within that faith, but rather by coercion and lack of information, lack of consent etc. A guy on ZH was posting about how it worked for him. Thoughts? Take a looksy:

https://www.establishment-of-religion.world/#section-6143058d1e9fb

Anytime you're trying to fight a legal battle, you're going to want precedent/stare decisis on your side as you're making the point that you're not asking for anything the courts and lawmakers have permitted or protected before. As someone who has spent a good bit of time before judges in actual trial court and moot appellate court, I always want to have some case or statute to cite to which is analogous to the facts of my case. Because the law is on our side, I'd recommend going with what's already on the books rather than trying to reinvent the wheel.

For example, a lot of leftist "Christians" and atheists alike are making the argument that numerous religious leaders (including, unfortunately, Pope Francis) have told the lay faithful to get the shot. And smugly reminding us that Jesus said to love our neighbors so getting vaxxed is an act of loving our neighbor or whatever.

I would recommend that you don't even get into the weeds with these bad faith actors or your supervisors regarding Christian dogma or tenants because it's irrelevant to the religious exemption argument. Both statutory AND case law are clear on this:

“…the fact that the religious group to which the individual professes to belong may not accept such belief will not determine whether the belief is a religious belief of the employee...”) Commission Guidelines, 29 C.F.R. § 1605.1 and Welsh, 398 U.S. at 343 (finding that petitioner’s beliefs were religious in nature although the church to which he belonged did not teach those beliefs).
 

C-Note

Hummingbird
Gold Member
Found an interesting take on the religious exemption, not by claiming a particular faith or set of beliefs within that faith, but rather by coercion and lack of information, lack of consent etc. A guy on ZH was posting about how it worked for him. Thoughts? Take a looksy:

https://www.establishment-of-religion.world/#section-6143058d1e9fb
This is the approach I'm thinking of taking with my religious exemption request because it does mirror my firmly held beliefs. I believe it's against God's will to coerce someone into undergoing a medical procedure. I'll probably also cite Martin Luther King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail in which he says that you have a moral obligation to disobey laws that are immoral.
 
Anytime you're trying to fight a legal battle, you're going to want precedent/stare decisis on your side as you're making the point that you're not asking for anything the courts and lawmakers have permitted or protected before. As someone who has spent a good bit of time before judges in actual trial court and moot appellate court, I always want to have some case or statute to cite to which is analogous to the facts of my case. Because the law is on our side, I'd recommend going with what's already on the books rather than trying to reinvent the wheel.

For example, a lot of leftist "Christians" and atheists alike are making the argument that numerous religious leaders (including, unfortunately, Pope Francis) have told the lay faithful to get the shot. And smugly reminding us that Jesus said to love our neighbors so getting vaxxed is an act of loving our neighbor or whatever.

I would recommend that you don't even get into the weeds with these bad faith actors or your supervisors regarding Christian dogma or tenants because it's irrelevant to the religious exemption argument. Both statutory AND case law are clear on this:

“…the fact that the religious group to which the individual professes to belong may not accept such belief will not determine whether the belief is a religious belief of the employee...”) Commission Guidelines, 29 C.F.R. § 1605.1 and Welsh, 398 U.S. at 343 (finding that petitioner’s beliefs were religious in nature although the church to which he belonged did not teach those beliefs).
Good points. Do you have any cases you can share with us, or just cases in general whose records are publicly available regarding this dilemma that we can use as a backup justification to have legal ammo to fight with on these exemptions?
 

Denam8487

Pigeon
Good points. Do you have any cases you can share with us, or just cases in general whose records are publicly available regarding this dilemma that we can use as a backup justification to have legal ammo to fight with on these exemptions?

In terms of sincere religious beliefs, refer back to post #109 where I cited cases that lay out the low threshold standard. Most of them are pretty straight forward and should get you past sincerely held belief standard.

Reasonable accommodation (RA) is going to be tricky if you’re not full remote or in an occupation where you’re naturally “socially distanced.” I haven’t done my homework yet but the gist is that your employer can argue that you’re an immediate threat to yourself and/or others around you and that to provide an accommodation would provide an “undue hardship” on them.

Again, I need to do more research on the RA aspect of Title VII but those are the broad strokes.
 

DanielH

Ostrich
Orthodox
In terms of sincere religious beliefs, refer back to post #109 where I cited cases that lay out the low threshold standard. Most of them are pretty straight forward and should get you past sincerely held belief standard.

Reasonable accommodation (RA) is going to be tricky if you’re not full remote or in an occupation where you’re naturally “socially distanced.” I haven’t done my homework yet but the gist is that your employer can argue that you’re an immediate threat to yourself and/or others around you and that to provide an accommodation would provide an “undue hardship” on them.

Again, I need to do more research on the RA aspect of Title VII but those are the broad strokes.
My manager on an off the record call told me full remote isn't good enough of an argument because I could feasibly be called into the office for something (which hasn't happened in the past 20 months). Just ridiculous.
 
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