‘This Wasn’t in the Job Description’
HR departments are navigating confusing COVID-19 religious exemption requests
As businesses across the country start imposing strict COVID-19 vaccine and testing requirements, some employees are claiming religious exemptions to avoid getting vaccinated—putting human resources departments on the frontlines of a fraught political issue that has already proven fertile ground for lawsuits.
The task before HR leaders is tricky: they have to figure out whether employees are applying for an exemption based on authentic religious beliefs or whether it’s a cover for their political views.
"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," said Ed Enoch, an attorney in Augusta, Ga., who has been fielding calls from clients at small and mid-size local businesses about everything from handling religious exemptions to vaccine mandates.
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