Well, the DOJ has filed a religious discrimination lawsuit alleging "Lasata's policy involving religious exemptions violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a federal law that prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on gender, sex or religious beliefs." The DOJ additionally stated that Williams "submitted to the flu shot, despite her religious objections, because she was told that her refusal would result in her termination." According to the lawsuit, "Williams suffered severe emotional distress from receiving the flu shot in violation of her religious beliefs."
Is There Another Way to Be Exempt from an Employer's Flu Shot Policy?
Requiring a flu shot may seem like an overreach of an employer's powers, but it generally isn't. While a person can claim that being forced to get a flu shot violates his or her privacy rights to exercise control over his or her body, this won't necessarily save the person from getting fired. After all, at-will employment allows an employer to fire an employee at any time and for any reason (unless it's discriminatory). However, if the employment is subject to a collective bargaining agreement made by a union or another type of employment contract, it may not be so easy to fire an employee for refusing a flu shot.
It's always a good idea to speak with an attorney before implementing a policy for employees to ensure that you're in compliance with applicable employment laws.
- Find Business and Commercial Lawyers Near You (FindLaw's Lawyer Directory)
- Employee Forced to Get Flu Shot or Face Termination Suing for Religious Discrimination (Newsweek)
- Employment Law and Human Resources (FindLaw's Learn About the Law)
- Civil Rights at Work: Respecting and Protecting Your Employees' Free Speech (FindLaw's Free Enterprise)