On one hand, the government is pushing in all directions to emphasize vaccine mandates, and many businesses are including that in their policy as well, so as to get their workforce safe from the potential disease.
However, many are boldly refusing to take the vaccine citing that it hinders their religious beliefs. It is causing a dilemma for the frontline workers, and political clout is waving a debate of rights. The issue has already garnered sufficient attention to be decided by the courts.
The issue at hand is giving sleepless nights to HRs, who are going to be responsible for the enforcement, and compliance of the policy.
“There are people, who are going to have a sincerely held religious belief, but there’s a lot of folks out there who just object to the vaccine, and this will be their avenue to not get it,” says Ed Enoch, an attorney in Augusta, Ga., working on making a uniform policy for small and mid-size business owners.
It is a tedious task, since the explanation that each individual holds is different, and based on varied interpretations. Sometimes it might come from someone belonging to a minority-related sect, whose local leader may advise one thing, and might not be applicable to people of the same religion practicing elsewhere.
“You can’t just say in a blanket manner that the Pope says it’s okay to get vaccines so we’re not giving religious exemptions to Catholics,” Enoch says. “It doesn’t have to be part of the doctrine of the faith that you attend, so it’s a really squishy standard; it’s really hard to put a finger on that.”
Many multinational companies and government bodies across the country that have placed mandatory full vaccination have indeed been successful in getting employees inoculated.
For instance, New York City Schools’ who implemented the mandate achieved compliance of over 96% of teachers getting a shot, the Mayor shared in October.
United Airlines, became the first U.S. airline to adopt a vaccine mandate, announced in late September after which, 99.5% of employees were given all the required doses.
However, all has not been merry. On Monday, a federal judge stopped the Biden Administration from imposing a vaccine mandate even for health care workers in 10 states.
A circuit court also recently ruled that 15 New York City public school teachers and administrators must have their COVID-19 religious exemption requests reconsidered as it may be a potential violation of their First Amendment rights.