Members of our labor and employment group published a LawFlash discussing the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updates on its COVID-19 guidance, detailing its view of employer obligations under Title VII when evaluating religious objections to COVID-19 vaccination mandates and requests for accommodation based on pregnancy under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. These updates may be of interest to healthcare employers as they continue to navigate through vaccine mandates. Below are some key takeaways from the article:
- Employers can make inquiries into the nature or sincerity of a purported religious belief when they have an objective basis to question either of these elements. This can include requests for additional documentation.
- Employers can consider the credibility of an employee’s statements when determining the sincerity of belief.
- Employers can consider the number of requests for similar exemptions and/or the cumulative cost or burden of granting accommodations to others when evaluating whether granting a request for an accommodation will impose undue hardship.
- Employers do not need to grant all requests for religious accommodation if they grant one. Each request should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.