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AVFCA successfully educated Employers on the consequences of requiring vaccines
and helped over 300 Employees decline the COVID Vaccine or gain a Religious Exemption.

Educating Employers, CA Public School Districts and Private Schools: Over the past two months, A Voice for Choice Advocacy has sent letters to many employers, at the request of employees who have faced employee COVID vaccine mandates, educating them on the legal, scientific, and religious reasons vaccines cannot be required of employees, as well as the possible financial consequences of doing so.  In the past week, AVFCA also sent a version of this letter to over 1,100 CA public school district superintendents and their board members and to over 3,200 CA private school principals and their board members, outlining the same, as well as why schools cannot require the COVID-19 vaccines of students without legislation. You can view our letter to School Districts here: https://avoiceforchoiceadvocacy.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/AVFCA-Letter-re-ChildCare-School-COVID-Vaccine-Requirements-020121.pdf.  

If your employer is requiring the COVID-19 vaccine and you would like a similar letter sent to your employer, please send us the name of the CEO and other key personnel involved with COVID-19 vaccine policies, as well as their email addresses to info@avoiceforchoiceadvocacy.org, and AVFCA will send it out.

COVID-19 Declination and Religious Exemptions: If your employer is requiring the COVID-19 vaccine as a requirement for employment, our first recommendation is that you "JUST SAY NO!". You are not alone in saying no. Across the country and the world, there are significant numbers of healthcare workers declining the vaccine. If your employer, will not take no as an answer, then your options are to get a medical exemption, a religious belief exemption, or find another job.

AVFCA has successfully helped over 300 employees and college students get their religious accommodation requests approved. If you need help with writing a religious exemption or would like us to review it before you submit it, we would be happy to. Please send the written vaccine policy, including exemption options, a description of your religious beliefs and any other information about the accommodations you are requesting, to info@avoiceforchoiceadvocacy.org.

We have sent the below a couple of times, but for reference, it is copied here again for those looking to request a religious exemption:

While organizations may just ask for a statement that vaccines are against your religious beliefs and you hold those beliefs sincerely, they have the right to ask for more a detailed explanation to determine that those statements are true. They will also deny your religious exemption if they do not believe your beliefs are sincere, or if they are moral, ethical or personal beliefs, rather than religious beliefs. For employees, the questions must be consistent with the guidance from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/questions-and-answers-religious-discrimination-workplace. The following are examples of what may be asked to support a religious exemption:

- Explain how receiving the COVID vaccine conflicts with or violates your sincerely held religious belief, observance or practice.

- Identify the sincerely held religious belief, observance or practice that prevents you from receiving the COVID vaccine (this includes moral or ethical beliefs as to what is right and wrong which are sincerely held with the strength of traditional religious views (29 C.F.R.§1605.1), but it does not include “social, political, or economic philosophies” or personal preferences (U.S. Equal Emp’t Opportunity Comm’n, Questions and Answers: Religious Discrimination in the Workplace, Question 1 (Jan. 31, 2011); U.S. Equal Emp’t Opportunity Comm’n, Compliance Manual, Section 12: Religious Discrimination, at 12-I (Coverage) (July 22, 2008)

While the accommodation you are requesting is an exemption to vaccination for religious reasons, you may also be asked to request other accommodations, if not getting the flu/COVID vaccine would make you unable to meet the required/essential functions of your job and would impose an undue hardship, including compromising safety for your organization.

The First Amendment of the US and California Constitutions, guarantees every American freedom of religion which is not restricted to organized religion. The definition of your religion is your own and you cannot be judged for what it is. Per the 1964 Civil Rights act:

“Title VII protects all aspects of religious observance and practice as well as belief and defines religion very broadly for purposes of determining what the law covers. For purposes of Title VII, religion includes not only traditional, organized religions such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, but also religious beliefs that are new, uncommon, not part of a formal church or sect, only subscribed to by a small number of people, or that seem illogical or unreasonable to others. An employee’s belief or practice can be “religious” under Title VII even if the employee is affiliated with a religious group that does not espouse or recognize that individual’s belief or practice, or if few – or no – other people adhere to it. Title VII’s protections also extend to those who are discriminated against or need an accommodation because they profess no religious beliefs.

Religious beliefs include theistic beliefs (i.e. those that include a belief in God) as well as non-theistic “moral or ethical beliefs as to what is right and wrong which are sincerely held with the strength of traditional religious views.” Although courts generally resolve doubts about particular beliefs in favor of finding that they are religious, beliefs are not protected merely because they are strongly held. Rather, religion typically concerns “ultimate ideas” about “life, purpose, and death.” Social, political, or economic philosophies, as well as mere personal preferences, are not “religious” beliefs protected by Title VII.”

More details on what constitutes religion is outlined in these two articles:
EOCC: Questions and Answers - Religious Discrimination in the Workplace
National Law Review: Flu Shots, Religious Beliefs, and Employee Rights: Navigating the Complex Intersection.

If you are part of an organized religion, most religious texts have verses that relate to the sanctity of blood and bodily autonomy.

 

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