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Posted by Samuel A. Wong | May 07, 2014 | 0 Comments


A case from 2012 in Indiana prompts the question of mandatory immunizations at work, and whether the refusal to receive an immunization shot is protected as a part of a religious identity.

At Indiana University Health's Gosehn Hospital, the hospital informed its staff in September 2012 that all staff members had to receive a flu vaccination. The hospital allowed staff to apply for an exemption if they felt it was necessary. A total of eight employees were ultimately fired for not meeting the exemption based on religion—Ethel, a 22 year veteran nurse; Joyce, who had dedicated 27 years to the hospital; and Sue, who had worked for the hospital throughout the last 40 years.

So, if you refuse an immunization due to your religion, can you get terminated? The answer is: maybe. Title VII, the federal policy regarding discrimination, has no specific law governing immunizations exemptions, so there is no explicit statement expounding on the legality of a termination stemming from an immunization refusal.

Employees can assert their right to refuse an immunization due to religion. One may ask for a reasonable accommodation, but if it creates an undue burden on the employer, they also have the potential right to refuse the accommodation and/or terminate the employee has a result.

About the Author

Samuel A. Wong

Samuel A. Wong is a renowned Orange County trial lawyer and a Co-Founder of Aegis Law Firm. Mr. Wong has spent his entire career litigating employment related matters, including wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, wage, disability and medical leave cases. Mr. Wong is also an expert ...


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