Managing religious exceptions to the vaccine.

As more organizations roll out COVID vaccine mandates for their employees, HR departments and managers will be forced to deal with employees claiming a legal exception to this requirement.

The EEOC has clearly said that it's legal for employers to require the shot. But the agency also said employers must offer accommodations to employees who cannot (or will not) get the COVID vaccine for disability-related reasons or due to "sincerely held" religious beliefs or practices, as long as the accommodation does not impose an "undue hardship" on the organization.

Only a couple fringe religious groups in the country (representing 0.25% of employees) specifically support people not getting vaccinations. But the EEOC does not limit its definition of religious belief to those espoused by an actual religion. The EEOC definition includes "moral or ethical beliefs" that are held within traditional religious views.

That means almost any employee can claim a religious exception as long as they state that it is against their religious belief to be vaccinated.

"Presume a religious belief to be 'sincerely held'...

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