Employers [i] in Washington risk violating state and federal anti-discrimination law where they choose to require that employees inject non-FDA approved, experimental Covid treatments into their bodies as a condition of employment, while also failing to make accommodations and exceptions for employees who oppose those treatments based upon bona fide religious objections.
RELIGIOUS EXEMPTIONS AND EMPLOYER VAX MANDATES
In Kumar v. Gate Gourmet, Inc., the Washington State Supreme Court held that the Washington Law Against Discrimination, Wash. Rev. Code 49.60.030, “creates a cause of action for failure to reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious practices.” 180 Wash. 2d 481 (2014). The Supreme Court also made clear that “[d]isparate impact and reasonable accommodation claims both prevent employers from adopting facially neutral policies that create or perpetuate discriminatory effects.” Id. at 500. “[W]e hold that the WLAD creates a cause of action for failure to reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious practices.” Id. at 500-01.
Federal law also generally makes such religious discrimination illegal: “It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer... to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion...” 42 U.S.C.S. § 2000e-2. “[F]ederal law places an affirmative duty on employers to reasonably accommodate the religiousobservances, practices and beliefs of their employees.” Hiatt v. Walker Chevrolet Co., 120 Wash. 2d 57, 64 (1992) (42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e(j), 2000e-2; TWA v. Hardison, 432 U.S. 63, 75 (1977)).
The federal requirement that employers make reasonable accommodations for employee’s religious beliefs has been held to be constitutional. In Eeoc v. Ithaca Indus., the defendant employer fired an employee after he refused to work on a Sunday due to his religious beliefs. 849 F.2d 116, 117 (4th Cir. 1988). The federal court of appeals held that the employer had violated the Civil Rights Act § 701(j), 42 U.S.C.S. § 2000e(j), by failing to make an effort to accommodate the employee’s religious beliefs. In doing so, the court concluded that the law was constitutional.
It is well known that many of the faithful oppose Covid “vaccines” on longstanding and well recognized anti-abortion religious beliefs. Such sincerely held religious beliefs are well established among Christians who adhere strictly to the anti-abortion views of the faith. As one Christian scholar stated, “when we use vaccines or medicines which utilize cell lines originating from aborted babies, we physically benefit from the ‘fruits’ of one of the greatest evils of mankind — the cruel genocide of the unborn. . . . As Christians, it is our duty to bear witness to the world by not accepting these vaccines and medicines.” Likewise, citing Tobit 2:21, Father Michael Copenhagen has stated, “the recipient [of an abortion-tainted vaccine] is an immediate participant in the commission of continuous theft of human remains obtained through deliberate killing, their desecration through exploitation and trafficking, as well as ultimate omission to respectfully bury them.”
Finally, since none of the current Covid “vaccines” produce “sterilizing immunity,” meaning that vaccinated individuals can (and do) still spread Covid, the firing of Christians who adhere to their faith serves no legitimate or lawful purpose. Rather, such action appears designed solely to deter their religious convictions.
Accordingly, employers who do not provide religious exemptions and accommodations to anti-abortion Christian employees who object to employer mandated Covid treatments risk running afoul of state and federal anti-discrimination law.
[i] Under RCW 49.60.040(11), “Employer" does not include any religious organization not organized for private profit. 42 U.S. Code § 2000, also provides exemptions from the federal law for religious corporations. See 42 U.S. Code § 2000e–1(a).
Angus and Jennifer Lee: Civil rights and criminal defense lawyers
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