Jill Lashay, shareholder in the Firm's Labor & Employment section, is quoted in the Relias Media article, “Vaccine Rollout Brings Legal, Labor Concerns for Employers.” Jill discusses claims of exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine, and concern among employees as employer mandates loom.
Religious objections also require proof, says Jill M. Lashay, JD, shareholder with Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney in Harrisburg, PA. Simply saying the words “religious objection” may not be enough. A physical disability also requires proof.
“Once the employee says he or she has a religious objection or a physical condition that prevents taking the vaccine, the employer has the right under the law to determine if it would be an undue hardship to accommodate this person,” Lashay explains. “They have to engage in a dialogue about this so the employer understands the basis of the objections and can make an informed decision about accommodation.”
Lashay says she is hearing considerable concern from employees about whether they can be forced to take the COVID-19 vaccine, consistent with the American Nurses Foundation survey results.
“We are hearing about pushback. I would anticipate that a lot of people who are uncertain about it will go to their physician and say they have some chronic pre-existing condition and it’s not safe to get the vaccine,” she says. “The religious objection could be part of an established, well-known religious faith, or the law says it also can simply be a sincerely held belief that constitutes a religion for the individual.”