Hastings Center Report

Covid Vaccine Mandates and Religious Accommodation in Employment

Abstract: Many employers are requiring their employees to be vaccinated for Covid-19 to comply with federal, state, or local laws, or to conform to employers’ policies. Some employees object to vaccination on religious grounds. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in employment based on religion and requires employers to reasonably accommodate employees’ religious beliefs or practices unless doing so would be an undue hardship to the employer’s business. Although a religion need not be an established faith with many followers, philosophical or political objections do not count as religious beliefs. If an employee demonstrates a bona fide religious objection, the issue is whether it can be reasonably accommodated. This will depend on the employer’s business, including whether close contact with coworkers or customers is required.

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