Are we seeing a trend? More judges aren’t falling for spurious COVID-19 religious accommodation claims.


Earlier this week, I wrote about a judge calling out an employee for trying to cast a personal choice to remain unvaccinated against COVID-19 as some deeply religious decision.

Last night, I read another recent opinion from a federal judge who called an employee trying to avoid a mandatory vaccination requirement at his new job on his religious 🐂💩.

Stop me if this sounds familiar.

The employee landed a new job only to find out that a condition of employment was furnishing his new employer with proof of a COVID-19 vaccination. So, he sought a religious exemption, which the company was willing to entertain. However, the employee merely objected to getting vaccinated based on his belief that the COVID-19 vaccine was unsafe, ineffective, and insufficiently researched — never informing his new employer that these beliefs were part of his religious affiliation: Catholicism. Eventually, he got fired — not because of his views on COVID-19 vaccines but because he became insubordinate with his supervisor and HR.

So, he later sued the company, claiming it failed to accommodate his religious beliefs.

The plaintiff was raised Catholic but hadn’t been a church member in over two decades and was not in any religious congregation. Seemingly, that makes him less religious than Homer Simpson, who once prayed to (and consumed) a waffle from his kitchen ceiling in an act of sacriliciousness, err, sacrilegiousness.

So, why did “religion” lead the plaintiff to reject the COVID-19 vaccine? He claimed he wanted to follow the New Testament’s mandate to “protect [him]self against anything that may defile [his] body and or conscience” because the “ingestion of a medication of other chemical substances defies natural law.”

Does anyone care to guess how the employer’s attorneys ripped his failure-to-accommodate claims a new one by pointing out the insincerity of his religious beliefs? Hold that thought while I explain the law to you.

A plaintiff must show that his views are religious as opposed to those that are essentially political, sociological, or philosophical. Here, the plaintiff fell short. Sure, he’s a “Christian,” and the New Testament has several passages about “defilement.”

But for a guy who supposedly believed that “ingestion of a medication of other chemical substances defies natural law,” the evidence showed that he put some medicines in his body but not others. Thus, the judge was convinced that “no reasonable juror could conclude that his opposition to the vaccine is a product of deep and imponderable questions. Instead, at best, it reflects a personal medical judgment about the necessity of COVID-19 vaccination rigged out with religious verbiage.” (cleaned up).

The judge added, “[The plaintiff] didn’t want a vaccine, and [the defendant] insisted that he get one. That’s not a holy war.”

Case dismissed.

“Doing What’s Right – Not Just What’s Legal”
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