How to be exempted from mandatory vaccinations

C-Note

Hummingbird
Gold Member
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.
If the manager says that, you can say, "But, in that case you've already agreed to the accommodation and therefore a sudden call into the office would be unlikely and irregular. An emergency situation can be handled by wearing a mask and social distancing since it would be of short duration. Can you think of a situation in which that wouldn't be the case?"
 

Denam8487

Pigeon
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.

I’ve heard that argument too and I’ll be curious whether to see if they use that argument on the record.

I could see it being a case-by-case basis. Our agency informed us that two of the things they would be considering is the nature of the employee's job responsibilities and the reasonably foreseeable effects on the agency's operations, including protecting other agency employees and the public from C19. I put "reasonably foreseeable" in bold because how reasonably foreseeable is it that an unvaccinated employee who hasn't set foot into the office for 20 months, is still able to communicate with others and produce work product, would go into the office at a frequency and for a duration that would put the other employees at risk? Especially given that said employee would be subject to other travel restrictions, mask-wearing, providing proof of negative testing and distancing.

Federal workers are notoriously lazy and hate doing extra work so I'm very curious to see if they throw the remote workers an exemption to take the path of least resistance. If they don't then I'll see their asses in court.
 

DanielH

Ostrich
Orthodox
If the manager says that, you can say, "But, in that case you've already agreed to the accommodation and therefore a sudden call into the office would be unlikely and irregular. An emergency situation can be handled by wearing a mask and social distancing since it would be of short duration. Can you think of a situation in which that wouldn't be the case?"
I could theoretically be called to one of the sites to check on their engines which I am technically responsible for, but I've been in this new position for about half a year now with no sign of a trip... in fact they cut out a significant portion of the maintenance budget and are running these engines until they die while we have this contract for years to come so there's very little chance they would need an in person engineer, and if they did, there's 4-6 people in line before me, so no there is no chance, but they could tell me "well it is possible..."

The difficulty lies in communicating this with HR, I would need my manager to sign off on that statement, that it is true. Of course there is no answer to the following question, but why can't I mask and social distance? Double mask? There is no answer because it's simply tyranny. They know the anti-"vaxxers" at this point are probably Trump supporting right wingers they hate, and the particular HR manager who will be adjudicating my case is from a demographic historically not too friendly towards people of the Christian faith... I think they have a text saying some pretty nasty things about Jesus Christ in fact.
 
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DanielH

Ostrich
Orthodox
Federal workers are notoriously lazy and hate doing extra work so I'm very curious to see if they throw the remote workers an exemption to take the path of least resistance. If they don't then I'll see their asses in court.
Yeah, now I'm regretting being a contractor now, the government side of it is ridiculous, they do almost no work and get great pay and benefits. I thought they would at least be subject to tougher vaccination/covid requirements but that's looking not to be the case.
 

JustinHS

Sparrow
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.

I haven’t put my RA docs in yet because I want to get a lay of the land to see if they’re giving any out at all. I’ve already got Patriarch Prime’s zip file full of info already that will be ready to send after a few edits. My team lead already knows my faith is sincere, and knows I’m going to be putting in for RA.

I guess my question is Would you wait closer to due date to see what happens, or would you submit one now? I’ve already contacted the lawyer and it sounds like she’s swamped with these cases.

There’s about 2000 employees locally and 700 are unvaxxed.
 

Wavethewheat

Chicken
Orthodox Inquirer
I haven’t put my RA docs in yet because I want to get a lay of the land to see if they’re giving any out at all. I’ve already got Patriarch Prime’s zip file full of info already that will be ready to send after a few edits. My team lead already knows my faith is sincere, and knows I’m going to be putting in for RA.

I guess my question is Would you wait closer to due date to see what happens, or would you submit one now? I’ve already contacted the lawyer and it sounds like she’s swamped with these cases.

There’s about 2000 employees locally and 700 are unvaxxed.
Wow. That's 35% of the employees if they all hold the line and refuse to give in. That would decimate the agency's ability to conduct business.

Federal employee here facing new and ever-shifting requirements for "requesting" a religious accommodation. I have no idea how many at my facility are unvaxxed, but the tone of the correspondence received this week gives me the impression that they will just blanket deny nearly all of the religious exemptions claiming they present an "undue hardship" on the agency to provide an accommodation. I'm already putting in resume's elsewhere and preparing for the inevitable if they go through with this and terminate everyone who doesn't take the injection.
 

rainy

Kingfisher
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.
What if you offer to wear a hazmat suit?

If hazmat suits can handle the most lethal viruses mankind deals with they can handle COVID.....

images
 

Denam8487

Pigeon
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.

I did a little more Title VII research because I anticipate that argument will be made by most employers.

When it comes to the "safety" aspect of the undue hardship, the main case we have on the books is Webb, 562 F.3d 256 (2009). Another case with analogous facts to Webb is EEOC v. GEO Grp., Inc., 616 F.3d 265, 273 (3d Cir. 2010). This case features some language that employers will probably cite to in denying the accommodation: "A religious accommodation that creates a genuine safety or security risk can undoubtedly constitute an undue hardship for an employer-prison.”

However both Webb and GEO pertain to correctional/police officers whose headdress/scarf posed a risk of strangulation by violent felons. Courts have found that prisons or correctional facilities are essentially in a realm of its own when it comes to ensuring safety measures. Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78, 84-85, 107 S.Ct. 2254, 96 L.Ed.2d 64 (1987). Outside of prisons, there's precedent for religious exemptions to the government enforcement procedures of some safety requirements. See, e.g., Occupational Safety & Health Admin., U.S. Dep’t of Lab., STD 1-6.5: Exemption for Religious Reason from Wearing Hard Hats (June 20, 1994), https://www.osha.gov/enforcement/directives/std-01-06-005 (exempting employers from citations for certain violations based on religious objection of employee, but providing for various reporting requirements).

DanielH- Regarding the "what if you come on site" argument, we have a whole host of caselaw on our side finding that employers cannot rely on "what if" scenarios.

An employer cannot rely on hypothetical hardship when faced with an employee’s religious obligation that conflicts with scheduled work, but rather should rely on objective information. See Tabura v. Kellogg USA, 880 F.3d 544, 558 (10th Cir. 2018) (reversing summary judgment for employer where it “did not . . . cite to any evidence to support its assertions” that accommodating plaintiffs’ need to observe their Sabbath would impose an undue hardship “in the form of unauthorized overtime, quality control issues, and even forcing entire lines to shut down”); Brown v. Gen. Motors Corp., 601 F.2d 956, 960 (8th Cir. 1979) (holding that “projected ‘theoretical’ future effects cannot outweigh the undisputed fact that no monetary costs and de minimis efficiency problems were actually incurred during the three month period in which [employee] was accommodated”); Tooley v. Martin-Marietta Corp., 648 F.2d 1239, 1243 (9th Cir. 1981) (undue hardship requires “proof of actual imposition on coworkers or disruption of the work routine” rather than “conceivable or hypothetical hardships” (internal quotation marks and citation omitted)); Toledo v. Nobel-Sysco, Inc., 892 F.2d 1481, 1492 (10th Cir. 1989) (“Any proffered hardship . . . must be actual,” not speculative).

Essentially, our employers have to look at things retroactively rather than prospectively. If we've been offsite for the past 20 months with no interaction with any coworkers, the employer must rely on that in issuing an accommodation rather than the off-chance that you may come in for the odd meeting or tech issue.
 
I did a little more Title VII research because I anticipate that argument will be made by most employers.

When it comes to the "safety" aspect of the undue hardship, the main case we have on the books is Webb, 562 F.3d 256 (2009). Another case with analogous facts to Webb is EEOC v. GEO Grp., Inc., 616 F.3d 265, 273 (3d Cir. 2010). This case features some language that employers will probably cite to in denying the accommodation: "A religious accommodation that creates a genuine safety or security risk can undoubtedly constitute an undue hardship for an employer-prison.”

However both Webb and GEO pertain to correctional/police officers whose headdress/scarf posed a risk of strangulation by violent felons. Courts have found that prisons or correctional facilities are essentially in a realm of its own when it comes to ensuring safety measures. Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78, 84-85, 107 S.Ct. 2254, 96 L.Ed.2d 64 (1987). Outside of prisons, there's precedent for religious exemptions to the government enforcement procedures of some safety requirements. See, e.g., Occupational Safety & Health Admin., U.S. Dep’t of Lab., STD 1-6.5: Exemption for Religious Reason from Wearing Hard Hats (June 20, 1994), https://www.osha.gov/enforcement/directives/std-01-06-005 (exempting employers from citations for certain violations based on religious objection of employee, but providing for various reporting requirements).

DanielH- Regarding the "what if you come on site" argument, we have a whole host of caselaw on our side finding that employers cannot rely on "what if" scenarios.

An employer cannot rely on hypothetical hardship when faced with an employee’s religious obligation that conflicts with scheduled work, but rather should rely on objective information. See Tabura v. Kellogg USA, 880 F.3d 544, 558 (10th Cir. 2018) (reversing summary judgment for employer where it “did not . . . cite to any evidence to support its assertions” that accommodating plaintiffs’ need to observe their Sabbath would impose an undue hardship “in the form of unauthorized overtime, quality control issues, and even forcing entire lines to shut down”); Brown v. Gen. Motors Corp., 601 F.2d 956, 960 (8th Cir. 1979) (holding that “projected ‘theoretical’ future effects cannot outweigh the undisputed fact that no monetary costs and de minimis efficiency problems were actually incurred during the three month period in which [employee] was accommodated”); Tooley v. Martin-Marietta Corp., 648 F.2d 1239, 1243 (9th Cir. 1981) (undue hardship requires “proof of actual imposition on coworkers or disruption of the work routine” rather than “conceivable or hypothetical hardships” (internal quotation marks and citation omitted)); Toledo v. Nobel-Sysco, Inc., 892 F.2d 1481, 1492 (10th Cir. 1989) (“Any proffered hardship . . . must be actual,” not speculative).

Essentially, our employers have to look at things retroactively rather than prospectively. If we've been offsite for the past 20 months with no interaction with any coworkers, the employer must rely on that in issuing an accommodation rather than the off-chance that you may come in for the odd meeting or tech issue.
Just a quick thought, from what I’ve read Biden’s “mandate” exists as a public statement and press release, not as a formally issued EO and certainly not as a law passed by Congress. Of course most institutions took the cue and ran with it, but maybe if you take the legalistic route something straightforward facts like this would be more effective than the case law you are citing. There are no OSHA rules about this obviously illegal order.

In case you needed any more evidence that the GOP is a sack of sh#t, they spent the past month slowly caving to the Demons on the debt ceiling instead of fighting the most hot-button, slam dunk issue of our times.
 
Yeah, now I'm regretting being a contractor now, the government side of it is ridiculous, they do almost no work and get great pay and benefits. I thought they would at least be subject to tougher vaccination/covid requirements but that's looking not to be the case.
Is there a way for you to find employment for another company? Let Tinaaaaa from Hrrrrrrr work on the engines.
 

DanielH

Ostrich
Orthodox
Is there a way for you to find employment for another company? Let Tinaaaaa from Hrrrrrrr work on the engines.
Working on it, there seems to be a lot more opportunities than I thought, already talked to a hiring rep with another company. From what I've heard from another coworker who isn't getting vaxxed, my company is having to weigh if the fine for me not being vaccinated is worse than the fine for not being able to complete the contract from losing us engineers, or they could just approve the exemptions. And my company has already lost a few engineers with very few signing on in the past year. So we'll see if my company is driven more by ideology or money.
 
Working on it, there seems to be a lot more opportunities than I thought, already talked to a hiring rep with another company. From what I've heard from another coworker who isn't getting vaxxed, my company is having to weigh if the fine for me not being vaccinated is worse than the fine for not being able to complete the contract from losing us engineers, or they could just approve the exemptions. And my company has already lost a few engineers with very few signing on in the past year. So we'll see if my company is driven more by ideology or money.
Your company will understand pain only once they have to pay for their mistakes. Let them hang high and dry. Hell, take whatever material you can take. Once an employer attempts to claim autonomy over an employee's body, all bets are off, and all morality is thrown away.
 

Denam8487

Pigeon
Just a quick thought, from what I’ve read Biden’s “mandate” exists as a public statement and press release, not as a formally issued EO and certainly not as a law passed by Congress. Of course most institutions took the cue and ran with it, but maybe if you take the legalistic route something straightforward facts like this would be more effective than the case law you are citing. There are no OSHA rules about this obviously illegal order.

In case you needed any more evidence that the GOP is a sack of sh#t, they spent the past month slowly caving to the Demons on the debt ceiling instead of fighting the most hot-button, slam dunk issue of our times.

For private companies, you're absolutely correct. There is no EO pertaining to private companies so you're well within your ground to say that there's law or orders in place for the company to enforce. If it's something they choose to do on their own, that's their prerogative but don't let them hide behind a non-existent EO.

For federal employees like myself, I'm subject to EO 14043 which was signed by Biden. That's why I want to make sure I have all my ducks in a row, legally speaking.
 

thetruewhitenorth

Sparrow
Orthodox
Hi guys,

Working on my wife's religious exemption affidavit that her employer emailed her to fill out yessterday and get certified.

***Would you say citing use of aborted cells and coercion will do as reasons?**

Our main fear is actually is that she is pregnant and the vaccine might be harmful to the baby.

BTW, I reached out to my church for and two clergy persons responded to me saying that there's nothing that goes against Christian faith in the vaccine....
 

DanielH

Ostrich
Orthodox
Hi guys,

Working on my wife's religious exemption affidavit that her employer emailed her to fill out yessterday and get certified.

***Would you say citing use of aborted cells and coercion will do as reasons?**
Here's what happens, as it happened to my mother in law, and now my employer (different employer) sent almost the same exact form.

If you include that, make sure to say you oppose the testing of vaccines on aborted fetus cells. They still tried to say to my mother in law that no fetal cells are in the vaccine, to which we restated it was the testing that is against the faith (according to the Bases of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church and the OCA's 2001 Holy Synod) AND that you oppose any coerced medical procedures, which the Georgian Church also condemned.

To sum it up, state that you oppose testing on aborted fetuses and coerced medical procedures, that may get you out of the weekly testing as well.

According to the EEOC's Section 12, they have no grounds to ask you when you developed this belief, if you started believing this yesterday it is still valid. They do have the right to ask more follow up questions if they doubt the sincerity of the exemption.
Our main fear is actually is that she is pregnant and the vaccine might be harmful to the baby.

BTW, I reached out to my church for and two clergy persons responded to me saying that there's nothing that goes against Christian faith in the vaccine....
Well your clergy are simply wrong.

Edit: if you need the sources it is in the Orthodox exemption document going around but the OCA synod is not in that document, so here is the link for that: https://www.oca.org/holy-synod/stat...h-in-the-perspective-of-orthodox-christianity
 
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Denam8487

Pigeon
Here's what happens, as it happened to my mother in law, and now my employer (totally different) sent almost the same exact form.

If you include that, make sure to say you oppose the testing of vaccines on aborted fetus cells. They still tried to say to my mother in law that no fetal cells are in the vaccine, to which we restated it was the testing that is against the faith (according to the Bases of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church and the OCA's 2001 Holy Synod) AND that you oppose any coerced medical procedures, which the Georgian Church also condemned.

To sum it up, state that you oppose testing on aborted fetuses and coerced medical procedures, that may get you out of the weekly testing as well.

According to the EEOC's Section 12, they have no grounds to ask you when you developed this belief, if you started believing this yesterday it is still valid. They do have the right to ask more follow up questions if they doubt the sincerity of the exemption.

Well your clergy are simply wrong.

That’s a really good point about the testing on the aborted fetus, Daniel.
 
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