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Vaccines may be hot button employment issue

In a story that attracted the attention of national news media, the federal government is suing a nursing home in another state for unlawful discrimination on the basis of religion. The government is doing so on behalf of a nursing assistant, who claims her employer ordered her either to submit to a flu vaccine or be fired from her position.

The woman had explained to her employer that she had sincerely held religious beliefs about the human body that taking a vaccine would violate, but the woman's employer apparently disregarded her claim. In the wake of the lawsuit, however, the employer changed its practice and will no longer require the vaccine.

However, those who choose not to take the vaccine will need written documentation from their spiritual leaders confirming their beliefs. Moreover, they will also have to take extra medical precautions when they are around the facility's patients.

This story should be of interest to those in Los Angeles, California. There are many people in this area who have strong feelings about vaccines, and many of these are based on deeply held moral and religious convictions. On the other hand, in recent years, the State of California has shown a growing resistance to the anti-vaccination movement.

The important thing to remember is that a belief need not be particularly widespread or even directly on the point of a religious or moral dogma in order to be the basis of a discrimination or wrongful termination claim. If a person believes he or she has been punished or fired because of a religious belief, legal options may be available to him or her.

Source: Newsweek, "Employee forced to get flu shot or face termination suing for religious discrimination," Dana Dovey, March 9, 2018.

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Law Offices of Allan A. Sigel, P.C.

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