EEOC clarifies how to handle religious-based requests for exemptions to vaccine mandates.

If you require your staff to be vaccinated against COVID--either by choice or because of a government mandate--you must allow exemptions for employees whose "sincerely held" religious beliefs prevent them from receiving the shots. Making that decision can be tricky and legally risky.

The good news: The EEOC has issued guidance on when and how to accept, process and grant religious exemptions to vaccine mandates. Here's what the EEOC calls for:

Establish a request process. The EEOC urges employers to give workers information on how to ask for accommodations of their religious beliefs and where to direct requests. (The EEOC published an internal form the agency uses for its own employees' religious accommodation requests. It's not COVID-specific, but may helpful. Find it at

Have employees explain their objection. When an employee requests a reasonable accommodation based on religion, you can require workers to explain their objection and how it...

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