What You Should Know Before Opposing U.S. Employer-Mandated COVID-19 Vaccination (Especially in Illinois)

NOTE: Since publishing this article, the Illinois legislature, during the last week of October 2021, passed a law that the Illinois governor will likely sign that may, or, as I argue, may not change Illinois' Healthcare Right of Conscience Act. On November 3, 2021, I published a piece discussing this issue you can read here.

1805 British political cartoon by James Gillray, "The Cow-Pock—or—the Wonderful Effects of the New Inoculation!” Edward Jenner vaccinates patients in the Smallpox and Inoculation Hospital at St. Pancras, as patients develop features of cows. The "anti-vaxx" debate has raged for centuries.

In response to a U.S. executive order signed on September 9, 2021 [*1], and other executive orders signed by state governors, many employers are mandating employees receive COVID-19 vaccination or face termination (UPDATE: On November 5, 2021, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration filed a regulation, going into effect January 4, 2022, mandating employers with more than 100 employees implement a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination or once-per-week COVID-19 testing policy, with notice for comments the public, including you, can make on the possibility of lowering the 100-employee floor in the future. I encourage you to file a comment on that regulation, giving your opinion. UPDATE: On November 6, 2021, the Fifth Circuit stayed enforcement of this order, while it and, presumably, the U.S. Supreme Court later on decide on the constitutional merits of this regulation; thus I added a note in italics on the fourth paragraph below, emphasizing how we should be prepared.).

If fortunate, employees can opt to face weekly or bi-weekly testing, often at their own expense, to prove they are not infected with COVID-19 in exchange for their privilege of being unvaccinated.

While I don't believe any of the current lines of COVID-19 injections being passed off as "vaccines" qualify for the label as it was traditionally defined, since they were never tested on human-to-human transmission [*2], for purposes of this piece, I'm using the modern redefinition of "vaccine" that includes the immunity-stimulation products many are being forced to receive as COVID-19 vaccines. Thus, I'll drop my quotation marks around the term going forward.

The COVID-19 vaccines are ineffective [*3] and dangerous [*4]. And, you can't effectively sue their makers in a court of law (at present) [*5]. But you already knew that. You likely wouldn't be reading this if you didn't already oppose getting a COVID-19 vaccine; so I need not waste time persuading you further here. You also know it's not going to end with one round of vaccination. Since Fauci and his ilk in the pharmaceutical industry are pushing for "boosters," we know the supposed benefits of the COVID-19 shots are temporary, and a recurring-market-model of revaccination will be imposed to stay vaccinated. Will you be getting a "booster" every six months in exchange for your seasonal health or your seasonal freedom?

NOTE: It's important to understand that, regardless of what government does or doesn't do, or what is later deemed legal or illegal by a court, businesses react to this uncertainty and err on the side of avoiding potential coercive action by government by choosing to independently make you get your COVID-19 vaccines and "boosters." Thus, this piece focuses more on employer action to make you get a COVID-19 vaccine and/or these "boosters" than mere government mandates in and of themselves.

What can you do to keep your job without giving in to COVID-19 vaccination and the coming regime of recurring revaccination? If you've been unlawfully discharged due to your failure to get a COVID-19 vaccine, after asserting a lawful exemption, what can you do to assert your rights?

This piece cannot be taken as legal advice, because (1) I am likely not licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction, (2) your facts and circumstances not being known inhibits me from customizing my advice to your unique situation, and (3) laws might change after publication of this piece, which could substantially alter my analysis. Nonetheless, how might you successfully object to COVID-19 vaccination and keep your job? While I can't answer definitively, I aim to provide some insight.

Is This Legal?
Can vaccination be universally compelled by the government? Generally, states in the U.S. have the right to regulate health, safety, and morals (except sodomy [*6]), and the U.S. federal government may do the same if the thing regulated affects "interstate commerce," even remotely. But does the right to regulate health allow a state to compel healthcare?

The U.S. Supreme Court, in Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11, 38-39 (1905) [*7], with a limited holding, ruled that one particular individual could be compelled to pay a five-dollar fine for refusing to get a smallpox vaccine.
We are not prepared to hold that a minority, residing or remaining in any city or town where smallpox is prevalent, and enjoying the general protection afforded by an organized local government, may thus defy the will of its constituted authorities, acting in good faith for all, under the legislative sanction of the State. If such be the privilege of a minority, then a like privilege would belong to each individual of the community, and the spectacle would be presented of the welfare and safety of an entire population being subordinated to the notions of a single individual who chooses to remain a part of that population. We are unwilling to hold it to be an element in the liberty secured by the Constitution of the United States that one person, or a minority of persons, residing in any community and enjoying the benefits of its local government, should have the power thus to dominate the majority when supported in their action by the authority of the State...

Before closing this opinion, we deem it appropriate, in order to prevent misapprehension as to our views, to observe -- perhaps to repeat a thought already sufficiently expressed, namely -- that the police power of a State, whether exercised by the legislature or by a local body acting under its authority, may be exerted in such circumstances or by regulations so arbitrary and oppressive in particular cases as to justify the interference of the courts to prevent wrong and oppression. Extreme cases can be readily suggested. Ordinarily such cases are not safe guides in the administration of the law. It is easy, for instance, to suppose the case of an adult who is embraced by the mere words of the act, but yet to subject whom to vaccination in a particular condition of his health or body, would be cruel and inhuman in the last degree. We are not to be understood as holding that the statute was intended to be applied to such a case, or, if it as so intended, that the judiciary would not be competent to interfere and protect the health and life of the individual concerned...

Until otherwise informed by the highest court of Massachusetts, we are not inclined to hold that the statute establishes the absolute rule that an adult must be vaccinated if it be apparent or can be shown with reasonable certainty that he is not at the time a fit subject of vaccination or that vaccination, by reason of his then condition, would seriously impair his health or probably cause his death. No such case is here presented. It is the case of an adult who, for aught that appears, was himself in perfect health and a fit subject of vaccination, and yet, while remaining in the community, refused to obey the statute and the regulation adopted in execution of its provisions for the protection of the public health and the public safety, confessedly endangered by the presence of a dangerous disease.

We now decide only that the statute covers the present case, and that nothing clearly appears that would justify this court in holding it to be unconstitutional and inoperative in its application to the plaintiff in error.
In Buck v. Bell, 274 U.S. 200, 207 (1927) [*8], the U.S. Supreme Court ignored its own limits, and cited the prior-referenced decision to justify forcibly sterilizing feeble-minded women:
The judgment finds the facts that have been recited, and that Carrie Buck "is the probable potential parent of socially inadequate offspring, likewise afflicted, that she may be sexually sterilized without detriment to her general health, and that her welfare and that of society will be promoted by her sterilization," and thereupon makes the order. In view of the general declarations of the legislature and the specific findings of the Court, obviously we cannot say as matter of law that the grounds do not exist, and, if they exist, they justify the result. We have seen more than once that the public welfare may call upon the best citizens for their lives. It would be strange if it could not call upon those who already sap the strength of the State for these lesser sacrifices, often not felt to be such by those concerned, in order to prevent our being swamped with incompetence. It is better for all the world if, instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes. Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U. S. 11. Three generations of imbeciles are enough [emphasis added].
Believe it or not, Buck v. Bell was never overturned. State laws forcing sterilization of the feeble-minded have been either repealed or not enforced. So, if people tell you that the government has the right to force you to be vaccinated, based in the Supreme Court's wisdom, you should ask them if they also agree with the same court's decision, in the same case, that women can legally be forcibly sterilized if deemed by the state as "feeble-minded."

There is no specific legal precedent by the U.S. Supreme Court blessing legally-enforced universal vaccination requirements. Jacobson v. Massachusetts explicitly avoided such a ruling, and Buck v. Bell only asserts such authority in passing. Thus, there is more legal authority for Joe Biden to pass an executive order requiring employers with 100 or more workers fire all feeble-minded women not sterilized than there is for the prior-referenced order.

On the other hand, there is no precedent rejecting vaccination requirements either. But laws must take into account certain exceptions to vaccination you can qualify for. From here on, I'll analyze each one I can think of.

Can Only FDA-Approved Vaccines Be Compelled?
A vaccine requires approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in order to be mandated by government, meaning vaccines authorized for "emergency use" (EUA), like the COVID-19 vaccines, cannot be compelled by government. Because only a specific version of a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, Comirnaty, was approved [*9] on August 23, 2021, arguably, only Comirnaty could be mandated for now. Since there is no Comirnaty in circulation as of yet, arguably no COVID-19 vaccines could be mandated, as of yet. Of course, a court might rule that distinguishing between the EUA-authorized drug and its branded-label in production is immaterial and that, if one is approved, it is inferred that the other can be substituted.

I'm not saying you couldn't win on these technical grounds. The currently-available COVID-19 vaccines are not FDA approved and, thus, arguably, can't be mandated. But I don't suggest you put all your eggs in that basket.

By authorizing the COVID-19 vaccines without completing the normal trials and testing, the FDA has confessed its corruption to all the world, that it will rubber-stamp anything politics demands of it. What happens when (probably not if) the FDA later authorizes all the COVID-19 vaccines?

At best, arguing you can't be compelled to take a COVID-19 vaccine because no FDA-approved variant is available yet will buy you some time. But, almost certainly, the corrupt FDA will approve all variants of the COVID-19 vaccine eventually. What will you do then?

What If My Physician Advises Me NOT to Take Any of the Presently-Available COVID-19 Vaccines?
A quote from Jacobson v. Massachusettes [*10] is worth repeating here:
It is easy, for instance, to suppose the case of an adult who is embraced by the mere words of the [Massachusetts' law compelling Small Pox vaccination], but yet to subject whom to vaccination in a particular condition of his health or body, would be cruel and inhuman in the last degree. We are not to be understood as holding that the statute was intended to be applied to such a case, or, if it as so intended, that the judiciary would not be competent to interfere and protect the health and life of the individual concerned.
Even if laws explicitly disallowed you from receiving a medical exemption from being vaccinated, presumably, your local court could step in and exempt you for a legitimate medical reason, along with, possibly, others in your class.

Further, your inability to be vaccinated might be considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) [*11], if your employer has 15 or more employees. Thus, an employer firing you for refusing to be vaccinated, when your physician thinks it could harm you, might be treated, under federal law, akin to an employer firing you over a disability.

Employers only have to keep the disabled employed if they can find a "reasonable accommodation" for them. Someone working on a computer all day while being only waist-down paralyzed can be accommodated with wheel-chair-ramp entrances to his building and work stations. But, if his job involved something like climbing telephone poles, and no alternative job could reasonably be assigned, discharge from his employment could be legally justified.

Even if you can get a physician to opine, in writing, that you are not to get a COVID-19 vaccine due to your body's particular susceptibility to adverse reactions, you may still be fired. Perhaps your employer will argue that your claimed disability, resulting in you never getting a COVID-19 vaccine is an "unreasonable accommodation."

In the brainwashed realm of COVID-19 propaganda, perhaps the fact-finder in your case will believe merely wearing a mask for any interaction with the public is not good enough, and that, unless you are working remotely from home, an employer can get rid of you for not having work it can reasonably accommodate for you to perform.

Of more concern, however, are the prospects of your physician changing his mind or an alternative vaccine being produced in the future, that may be just as harmful, that your physicians can't in good faith object to. Unless you have a specific immune-system condition that makes any vaccine dangerous for you, which very few denizens of the U.S. have, a medical exemption will be difficult to obtain and, more importantly, sustain.

What If My Religious Beliefs Forbid Me from Receiving a COVID-19 Vaccine?
Does your interpretation of your religious faith forbid you from receiving COVID-19 vaccination? Religious-based objections are much more challenging to deny.

Employers with fifteen or more employees must comply with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a) [*12], which states:
… It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer—(1) to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin [emphasis added];
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency in charge of enforcing federal employment law. On its website, it offers clarification for what kind of "religious beliefs" qualify for protection under Title VII [*13]:
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.”
The EEOC's expansion of religion into non-religious "moral or ethical beliefs" is a bit suspect, as Title VII itself doesn't reference non-religious beliefs. So, while atheists are welcome to try arguing for a religious exemption, referencing the EEOC's own opinion, I wouldn't count on a court backing up that right when challenged or an employer taking the EEOC's opinion as law it must follow.

But religious beliefs can be personal in nature. To qualify as "religion" under Title VII, no membership in any particular church is required. Thus, it isn't necessary that your objection to medical care be rooted in any particular religious faith. The U.S. Supreme Court, in Franze v. Ill. Dep’t of Emp’t, 489 U.S. 829, 834 (1989), stated [*14]:
Undoubtedly membership in an organized religious denomination… would simplify the problem of identifying sincerely held religious beliefs, but we reject the notion that to claim the protection [for sincerely held religious beliefs], one must be responding to commands of a particular religious organizations [emphasis added].
For those that do belong to a particular religious faith, intra-faith differences in what is permissible among adherents can't be used as an excuse to discriminate against personally-held religious beliefs that might be in the minority of what those in a particular religious faith are doing. Thus, the fact that many Christians or those belonging to your particular faith may have received a COVID-19 vaccine, while others refuse, can't be asserted as as reason to deny your religious exemption. In Thomas v. Review Bd. of Indiana Employment Security Div., 450 U.S. 707, 715-16 (1981) [*15], the U.S. Supreme Court stated:
Intrafaith differences of that kind are not uncommon among followers of a particular creed, and the judicial process is singularly ill equipped to resolve such differences in relation to the Religion Clauses. One can, of course, imagine an asserted claim so bizarre, so clearly nonreligious in motivation, as not to be entitled to protection under the Free Exercise Clause; but that is not the case here, and the guarantee of free exercise is not limited to beliefs which are shared by all of the members of a religious sect. Particularly in this sensitive area, it is not within the judicial function and judicial competence to inquire whether the petitioner or his fellow worker more correctly perceived the commands of their common faith. Courts are not arbiters of scriptural interpretation [emphasis added].
Your state may have additional protections for religious faiths your employer must consider. For example, Illinois has the strongest religious-exemption-to-healthcare protections in the country (more on that later). However, all employers with more than 15 employees are subject to Title VII, at minimum. Most small businesses tend to be conservative, in need of quality workers, and unlikely to fire valuable employees. Thus, if you have the type of employer that is going go fire you over your refusal to get a COVID-19 vaccine, it's probably the kind that has a human resources department (HR), which usually means the employer has over 15 employees.

Your HR may be of a particular branch-covidian political bent, diametrically opposed to your attempt to refuse COVID-19 vaccines. To them, compelling you to get vaccinated is their moral duty. To them, maybe this whole covidian nightmare might go away if only people like you would do your duty and get vaccinated. Here's their angle: only sincere religious beliefs are protected, which opens the door to arguing for your denial.

One employer, for example, asserts the following:
The EEOC has identified four factors that can create doubt in an employer’s mind as to the sincerity of the employee's belief:
1. Whether the employee has acted in a way that is inconsistent with the claimed belief; 2. Whether the employee is seeking a benefit or an exception that is likely to be sought for nonreligious reasons; 3. Whether the timing of the request is questionable (for example, because it follows closely on the heels of the same employee's request for the same benefit for different reasons); and 4. Whether the employer has other reasons to believe that the employee is seeking the benefit for secular reasons.
As you can infer from "likely to be sought for nonreligious reasons" and "seeking the benefit for secular reasons," stating any scientific papers or data on the efficacy or safety of COVID-19 vaccines is counter-productive. The more knowledge you impart on the danger of COVID-19 vaccines, the more the employer can argue that your religious beliefs are merely a pretext for your real reason: you are simply terrified of getting the vaccine. And terror of the vaccine does not constitute a legally valid exemption.

It doesn't matter if you bring a stack of 1,000 scientific papers on the danger of COVID-19 vaccines. It doesn't matter if the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) shows ten-million death reports and twenty-million permanent disabilities under COVID-19 vaccines (as opposed to 16,000+ deaths and 20,000+ permanent disabilities in COVID-19-vaccine adverse events as of now [*16]). The regulatory agencies like the FDA and your county's health department state that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective; ergo, legally speaking, they are! You are simply misinformed for believing otherwise, according to your employer.

Employers can also point to inconsistencies in your religious beliefs to try and deny you. Here are seven questions an employer might ask in order to ensnare its employees.
1. Please describe the nature of your objection to the COVID-19 vaccination requirement.
Here, they are looking for you to spout off about something other than a religious objection. They will then you use that information against you, no matter how medically or scientifically informed you are, to argue you are using religion as a pretext for your real reason for objecting to the vaccine.
2. Would complying with the COVID-19 vaccination requirement substantially burden your religious exercise? If so, please explain how.
Here, they are looking for information about how you might be able to comply with your religious beliefs while also getting the COVID-19 vaccines, particularly if your religious beliefs are not personal but parroting what a particular church says. They can use that information to argue against approving your exemption. For example, if you say you are Catholic and against abortion, referencing some religious leaders, they can point to what the Pope has said in support of COVID-19 vaccination [*17] to deny you. As referenced earlier, the U.S. Supreme Court does not tolerate using intra-faith differences, but, if your religious beliefs are not personal, and you tie your beliefs to a particular sect within your religion that has a made a statement in favor of COVID-19 vaccination, that can be used against you.
3. How long have you held the religious belief underlying your objection?
This question is a set-up. They want to know when you formed particular religious beliefs to examine inconsistencies in those beliefs after you acquired them.
4. Please describe whether, as an adult, you have received any vaccines against any other diseases (such as a flu vaccine or a tetanus vaccine) and, if so, what vaccine you most recently received and when, to the best of your recollection.
This question ties in with the prior set-up. "[A]s an adult," you are responsible for your medical decisions. If you got a vaccine after you formed your religious beliefs, but are selectively refusing to get just a COVID-19 vaccine, your beliefs can be argued as insincere.
5. If you do not have a religious objection to the use of all vaccines, please explain why your objection is limited to particular vaccines.
This is a set-up for the aborted fetal-cell argument you might use. They are looking for you to object to abortion and argue that the COVID-19 vaccines contain aborted fetal-cells. They don't believe the COVID-19 vaccines have aborted fetal-cells in them (more on that later) and/or any use of aborted fetal-cells in design or testing of COVID-19 vaccines is sufficiently attenuated for your objection to be either misinformed or insincere. 
6. If there are any other medicines or products that you do not use because of the religious belief underlying your objection, please identify them.
This is another set-up. If your religion objects to vaccination and also objects to certain medicines, and you don't state you object to those medicines too, your inconsistency can be used to argue against your sincerity. What medicines different faiths might object to is a complex topic [*18]. Just be aware that inconsistencies are what they're looking for, and leaving this question blank can be used against you.
7. Please provide any additional information that you think may be helpful in reviewing your request.
This question is your opportunity to defend any inconsistencies they've likely pointed out. For example, if you received a prior vaccine after you adopted a particular religious faith, maybe you now regret that decision, have repented over it, and wish not to be made to sin again by your employer.

Unfortunately, the question is also an opportunity for them to mine for data to use against you. If you discuss your concerns about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines, they will use that to argue your religious beliefs are really a pretext for your "real" reason for objecting which you are giving in this answer.

The most common objections to religious exemptions I come across are: (1) the employer thinks the COVID-19 vaccines do not contain aborted fetal-cells (ergo, you are misinformed); and (2) you got a vaccine before, so your objection to this vaccine is a pretext and/or disingenuous.

For the former objection, there is evidence directly contradicting them from many different authorities. For example, Nebraska Medicine states [*19]:
When it comes to the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, fetal cell line HEK 293 was used during the research and development phase. All HEK 293 cells are descended from tissue taken from a 1973 abortion that took place in the Netherlands. Using fetal cell lines to test the effectiveness and safety of medications is common practice, because they provide a consistent and well-documented standard.

For the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, fetal cell lines were used in the production and manufacturing stage. To make the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, scientists infect PER.C6 fetal cell lines to grow the adenovirus vector. (Learn more about how viral vector vaccines work.) All PER.C6 cells used to manufacture the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are descended from tissue taken from a 1985 abortion that took place in the Netherlands. This cell line is used because it is a well-studied industry standard for safe and reliable production of viral vector vaccines.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) states [*20]:

[S]ome COVID-19 vaccines use a historic fetal cell line in production and manufacturing. 
• Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine used a fetal cell line to produce and manufacture their vaccine. 
• Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine did not use a fetal cell line to produce and manufacture their vaccine. However, a fetal cell line was used in a very early phase to confirm efficacy prior to production and manufacturing.
North Dakota tries to argue COVID-19 vaccines are religiously acceptable, while confessing that aborted fetal-cell lines were used in design of the COVID-19 vaccines [*21].

Other health departments removed their pages discussing aborted fetal-cell lines in COVID-19 vaccines after Liberty Counsel cited them in its demand letter to Northshore Health in Illinois [*22].

Louisiana removed its page discussing aborted fetal-cell lines in COVID-19 vaccines [*23].

And Los Angeles County did the same [*24]

Efforts to cover up use of aborted fetal-cell lines aren't limited to corrupt states. Pfizer, the largest COVID-19 vaccine maker, minimizes and obfuscates reality. Melissa Strickler, Pfizer whistle-blower and Manufacturing Quality Auditor, shared an e-mail with Project Veritas by Philip Dormitzer, Pfizer Chief Scientific Officer, that states, “HEK293T cells, used for the IVE assay, are ultimately derived from an aborted fetus [*24]."

According to the documents shared by Ms. Strickler, Vanessa Gelman, Pfizer’s Senior Director of Worldwide Research responded to this assertion with confirmation [*25]:

… [T]he risk of communicating [that Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines involve aborted fetal-cells] right now outweighs any potential benefit we could see, particularly with general members of the public who may take this information and use it in ways we may not want out there. We have not received any questions from policy makers or media on this issue in the last few weeks, so we want to avoid raising this if possible. 
Even if the COVID-19 vaccines do not have aborted fetal-cells directly in them, clearly, use of a product design that involved aborted fetal-cells is taking fruit from a poisonous tree, for those with a religious-based objection to abortion. Regardless, your employer's opinion that aborted fetal-cells and the COVID-19 vaccines are sufficiently far apart, that the fruit has fallen far enough away from the poisonous tree, cannot supplant your judgment for that distance. If you're going to object based on use of fetal-cell lines, it's important to remind your employer of that in your statement.

What if a future COVID-19 vaccine becomes available where the maker and various health departments can coordinate in covering up any information on use of aborted fetal-cell lines? What information will you then cite to support your position? The leaked documents from Pfizer and fact that Louisiana and Los Angeles County took down their pages on the issue of aborted fetal-cell lines reveals the reality that you are not dealing with honest authorities on this topic.

For the second common objection, that your prior-taking of a vaccine forbids you from objecting to any present one, it's important to add additional context to your religious objection. Your discovery of your beliefs on vaccination must come after you made your mistake in receiving your prior vaccination. Or, you can cite a Christian principle shared among other religious faiths: we are all sinners and have the opportunity to repent. The fact that we sinned before does not mean we can't recognize our mistakes and change our behavior going forward.

Liberty Counsel has a religious exemption guide you can review here [*27] for advice on how to write a solid objection. But, hopefully you'll find my analysis from the enemy's point of view of further use when considering your objection to employer-mandated COVID-19 vaccination.

The strongest religious exemption, that avoids most of the prior-referenced pitfalls, is this:
I am a Christian. I believe in prayer. I prayed to God on whether I should receive any COVID-19 vaccines. God told me no. If I get a COVID-19 vaccine, I am violating the direct will of God. Thus, I cannot get a COVID-19 vaccine and hold true to my religious beliefs.
With this statement, to object, your employer has to argue (1) there is no prayer, (2) there is no God, (3) God does not answer prayers, (4) that you did not pray to God when you say you did, and/or (5) God did not answer your prayer in the manner you say He did. Absent testimony from your co-workers or others stating you don't pray or believe in God, the employer has very limited grounds to deny your religious-exemption request, which is why you should not state medical or scientific evidence on the dangers of COVID-19 vaccines, especially to co-workers of the branch-covidian faith.

But, in all of this, remember: your employer can always argue that your refusal to get a COVID-19 vaccine, even with a valid religious exemption, can't be reasonably accommodated. Does your willingness to wear masks around others and be tested weekly for COVID-19 count as a reasonable accommodation? What if your employer says no?

In all these questions, ultimately, a court can decide, but only if you're willing to take it to that level. If discharged, you have 180 days to file a claim with the EEOC, which is, almost always, a mandatory prerequisite to filing a claim in federal court. If you're a federal employee, generally, you must notify your work's special officer on the matter within 45 days of the act of discrimination [*28] to later assert a valid claim. Your state also may have departments you can file discrimination claims in, with different deadlines, and many allow you to file cross-claims with both your state and the EEOC.

When you file claims, your state and/or the EEOC evaluates your claim to see if they want to take your case and punish your employer or compensate you. If rejected, or upon your request, you get a "right to sue" letter that is needed to take your case to court. From here, you almost certainly won't get the "equitable relief" of getting your job back. Instead, a court, if it agrees you were wrongfully discharged or discriminated against, will compensate you for your loss by compelling the employer to pay you for your lost opportunities and/or wages.

This is why employers want you to resign instead of being fired over your refusal to get a COVID-19 vaccine. If you resign, your later legal claims can be dismissed or strongly argued against, based on your resignation.

Employers never want to fire you if they can avoid it. By having you sign or write a simple resignation letter, your employer can argue against your unemployment benefits or rights to compensation for discrimination. It's a psychological ploy. Nobody wants to be fired. It's an admission of failure. If you resign, however, you can deploy the oldest psychological defense mechanism in employment: you can't fire me; I quit! Your employer is preying on your psychological desire to "leave on your own terms" by encouraging you to submit a resignation.

You might also be afraid of having to explain to your next employer that you were fired. What if your future prospect calls your previous employer, and they tell them you were fired! Because most employers fear a possible defamation lawsuit against them, most HR departments will only give dates of employment when asked for a reference. Hardly ever will an ex-employer discuss your termination with your other prospective employers, especially if the reasoning for your termination may be construed as illegal.

Thus, under almost all circumstances, you have nothing to gain by signing a resignation letter and almost everything to lose. Of course, if you already signed a resignation letter, you can argue that you were constructively fired and you signed the letter under duress; so, don't think the fact that you may have voluntarily "resigned" is an absolute bar in your bringing a discrimination claim.

If you object to a COVID-19 vaccine, and have legitimate spiritually-based reasons for it, you might lose your legal claim. So what? You don't need to hire and pay a lawyer to file a claim with the EEOC. Imagine what would happen if everyone who was discharged for refusing to get a COVID-19 vaccine had a religious objection on file with their employer and perused legal claims of discrimination? How would the system handle such an over-load?

There are no guarantees to anything in life. If there were, free will would not exist, and we'd be God's furniture instead of his guests sitting upon it. Perhaps life is a spiritual test of your faith and endurance more than it is a path with a rulebook on material victory. Maybe there are times when being the hard out is the righteous path.

What If My Employer is Making Me Get Tested Twice Per Week Over My Refusal to be Vaccinated for COVID-19?
Imagine an employer mandating employees get tested every five minutes for COVID-19 in exchange for the employees' privilege of being unvaccinated after making religious objections. To any honest observer, it would be clear that the employer is trying to make employees' lives as miserable as possible in order to coerce them into getting the vaccine. Is getting tested every five minutes necessary? Imagine being on a jury and hearing those facts. Could the employer's representative testify to you, with a straight face, that such testing is necessary?

If one's inability to comply with five-minute intervals of testing results in his termination, absent a jury being stacked with branch-covidians, it'd be clear he was really fired for refusing to get a COVID-19 vaccine and that his failure to be tested every five minutes was just a pretext. Thus, his discharge and/or the employer's policy would be seen as the violation of law it truly is: an unlawful command for employees to betray their religious beliefs in order to stay employed.

Does testing every day fall under this category? How about testing twice a week? The current standard by most employers seems to be for you to get tested, on your own time and at your own expense, every week. What if testing requires you to drive forty-five minutes out of your way, twice a week, and severely disrupts your life where you feel compelled to resign rather than deal with that burden?

These questions are ultimately for the fact-finder in your case to decide. Testing requirements are uncharted waters (with the possible exception of an Illinois case I'll discuss later). You can try and object to testing requirements by arguing that you are incapable of complying with them and that they are excessive. But, ultimately, who knows what your fact-finder, such as a jury, might decide?

If your employer is making you get tested twice a week, I would point out the standard for most places is once per week and ask them to explain to you, in writing, how they justify the twice-per-week standard. Just like they are mining you for evidence in your personal religious beliefs when they seek to deny your religious exemption, you can do the same to them by asking for clarifications on their policies. What do they base the twice-weekly need for testing in? The more evidence they give you, the more evidence you can use against them in a later-filed legal challenge. But, and I stress this, such a claim in the world of COVID-19 is, practically speaking, uncharted waters.

If you're comfortable getting tested twice per week, then getting tested twice a week while you look for a new, more reasonable, employer might be preferable. However, if you find the testing to be unduly burdensome and believe you were forced to leave over the testing, it wouldn't hurt to challenge your employer on those grounds in the appropriate legal venue. Remember, while it's advised to do so, you don't need to hire (and, thus, pay for) a lawyer to file a claim with the EEOC.

What If I'm in Illinois?
On November 3, 2021, I published a piece, which you can read here, discussing shenanigans Illinois Democrats are trying to pull by "clarifying the intent" of the law discussed below.  Essentially, I believe the law Democrats are trying to enact will be interpreted as a legal nullity or, at worst, only applying to acts of discrimination after June of 2022.

Illinois has the strongest religious exemption law in the U.S. Its Healthcare Right of Conscience Act, 745 ILCS 70 (HRCA) [*29], states, at section 7:
Discrimination by employers or institutions. It shall be unlawful for any public or private employer, entity, agency, institution, official or person, including but not limited to, a medical, nursing or other medical training institution, to deny admission because of, to place any reference in its application form concerning, to orally question about, to impose any burdens in terms or conditions of employment on, or to otherwise discriminate against, any applicant, in terms of employment, admission to or participation in any programs for which the applicant is eligible, or to discriminate in relation thereto, in any other manner, on account of the applicant's refusal to receive, obtain, accept, perform, counsel, suggest, recommend, refer, assist or participate in any way in any forms of health care services contrary to his or her conscience [emphasis added].
The HRCA, at section 5, states:
Discrimination. It shall be unlawful for any person, public or private institution, or public official to discriminate against any person in any manner, including but not limited to, licensing, hiring, promotion, transfer, staff appointment, hospital, managed care entity, or any other privileges, because of such person's conscientious refusal to receive, obtain, accept, perform, assist, counsel, suggest, recommend, refer or participate in any way in any particular form of health care services contrary to his or her conscience [emphasis added].
The HRCA, at section 3(a), defines “health care” as:
… any phase of patient care, including but not limited to, testing; diagnosis; prognosis; ancillary research; instructions; family planning, counselling, referrals, or any other advice in connection with the use or procurement of contraceptives and sterilization or abortion procedures; medication; or surgery or other care or treatment rendered by a physician or physicians, nurses, paraprofessionals or health care facility, intended for the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of persons;
The HRCA, at section 3(e), defines “conscience” as:
… a sincerely held set of moral convictions arising from belief in and relation to God, or which, though not so derived, arises from a place in the life of its possessor parallel to that filled by God among adherents to religious faiths;
The HRCA authorizes a Court to punish violators, as defined by section 12:
Actions; damages. Any person, association, corporation, entity or health care facility injured by any public or private person, association, agency, entity or corporation by reason of any action prohibited by this Act may commence a suit therefor, and shall recover threefold the actual damages, including pain and suffering, sustained by such person, association, corporation, entity or health care facility, the costs of the suit and reasonable attorney’s fees; but in no case shall recovery be less than $2,500 for each violation in addition to costs of the suit and reasonable attorney’s fees. These damage remedies shall be cumulative, and not exclusive of other remedies afforded under any other state or federal law [emphasis added].
The Plaintiffs have shown there is a fair question and clear right that is in need protection, namely their respective rights to refuse and be free from compulsory vaccination for the COVID-19 virus and/or mandatory testing for the presence of the COVID-19 virus as a condition for continued employment and in the exercise of their normal and typical employment functions. Those rights to refuse to obtain or accept health care services related to COVID-19 are clearly articulated and enshrined in Illinois law and policy as plainly set forth by the Illinois General Assembly in the Health Care Right of Conscience Act. 745 ILCS 70/1 et seq. …

The Plaintiffs have shown that their only adequate remedy for retention of their respective employment, livelihood and profession is through issuance of a temporary restraining order. The possibility of monetary damages as provided in section 12 of the Health Care Right of Conscience Act is inadequate to address the Plaintiffs’ statutorily preserved right to exercise their respective decisions of conscience regarding their own personal health care choices [emphasis added].
Normally, employment law only allows for monetary damages as a remedy for unlawful discharge. Very rarely does it result in restraining orders against employers from terminating employees. The fact that an Illinois Court just granted a temporary restraining order to stop a healthcare employer from terminating employees highlights just how serious the HRCA is taken by Illinois courts.

The judge even prohibited "mandatory testing for the presence of the COVID-19 virus as a condition of continued employment." Does that mean every judge in Illinois will rule the same way regarding blanket denials of religious objections or that the judge's order won't ultimately be overturned on appeal? No. But, it's harder for one judge in Illinois to rule in contradiction of another once a "precedent" has been set. The law has a bias for consistency in how it is applied.

Thus, if there is a state you're going to keep your job in, it's probably going to be Illinois, especially if you're in a more conservative county.

But remember. There is no guarantee of anything in life. If you were wronged, it's incumbent upon you to fight back. The choice to fight evil, regardless of the material outcome or any tactical blunders you might make, is almost always a victory in itself, especially compared to the alternative: letting evil run its course without your objection.

UPDATE: On October 11, 2021, Texas' Governor Abbott signed an executive order banning any employer from imposing a mandate for employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19 [*31], in direction opposition to Joe Biden's federal executive order:
... WHEREAS, in yet another instance of federal overreach, the Biden Administration is now bullying many private entities into imposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates, causing workforce disruptions that threaten Texas’ s continued recovery from the COVID- 19 disaster...

... NOW, THEREFORE, I, Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas, by virtue of the power and authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the State of Texas, do hereby order the following on a statewide basis effective immediately:
1. No entity in Texas can compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine by any individual, including an employee or a consumer, who objects to such vaccination for any reason of personal conscience, based on a religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from COVID-19. I hereby suspend all relevant statutes to the extent necessary to enforce this prohibition.
2. The maximum fine allowed under Section 4 1 8. 173 of the Texas Government Code and the State’ s emergency management plan shall apply to any “failure to comply with” this executive order. Confinement in jail is not an available penalty for violating this executive order.
3. This executive order shall supersede any conflicting order issued by local officials in response to the COVID-19 disaster. Pursuant to Section 418.016(a) of the Texas Government Code, I hereby suspend Sections 418.1015(b) and 418.108 of the Texas Government Code, Chapter 8 1 , Subchapter E of the Texas Health and Safety Code, and any other relevant statutes, to the extent necessary to ensure that local officials do not impose restrictions in response to the COVID-19 disaster that are inconsistent with this executive order.

[*1] https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/09/09/executive-order-on-requiring-coronavirus-disease-2019-vaccination-for-federal-employees/
To be more precise, all federal employers (and contractors) and private employers with more than 100 employees are being demanded to implement a once-per-week COVID-19 testing or get-COVID-19-vaccinated requirement (UPDATE: This finally culminated in a formal regulation by OSHA, published November 5, 2021 and going into effect January 4, 2022, and a stay on this regulation was put in place on November 5, 2021 by the Fifth Circuit, which may later be unstayed). Normally, employers with 15 or more workers can be mandated to do certain things under federal regulations. The principle on what can be regulated is rooted in the notion that only employers that affect "interstate commerce" can be regulated under the limitations of the U.S. Constitution. What number of employees one must have before they may be constitutionally presumed to do so is an academic question beyond the scope of this piece.

Some employers, especially health-care providers, are choosing to make blanket requirements to get vaccinated for COVID-19; especially since the law can change at any point in the future. And employers are welcome to go beyond this regulation, as long as they comply with state, federal, and other laws that apply to them.
[*2] https://stratagemsoftheright.blogspot.com/2021/04/to-get-or-not-get-not-vaccine-anatomy.html
[*3] https://stratagemsoftheright.blogspot.com/2021/06/false-efficacy-difference-between.html
[*4] https://stratagemsoftheright.blogspot.com/2021/07/adverse-effects-seen-and-unseen-pt-3-of.html
[*5] https://stratagemsoftheright.blogspot.com/2021/08/immunity-for-them-not-for-you-pt-4-of.html
[*6] Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003) https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/02-102
[*7] Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11, 38-39 (1905) https://tile.loc.gov/storage-services/service/ll/usrep/usrep197/usrep197011/usrep197011.pdf|
[*8] Buck v. Bell, 274 U.S. 200, 207 (1927) https://www.loc.gov/item/usrep274200/
[*9] https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-first-covid-19-vaccine
[*10] Buck v. Bell, 274 U.S. 200, 207 (1927) https://www.loc.gov/item/usrep274200/
[*11] Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a) https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/42/2000e-2
[*12] https://www.ada.gov/
[*13] https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/questions-and-answers-religious-discrimination-workplace
[*14] Franze v. Ill. Dep’t of Emp’t, 489 U.S. 829, 834 (1989) https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/489/829
[*15] Thomas v. Review Bd. of Indiana Employment Security Div., 450 U.S. 707, 715-16 (1981) https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/450/707
[*21] https://www.health.nd.gov/sites/www/files/documents/COVID%20Vaccine%20Page/COVID-19_Vaccine_Fetal_Cell_Handout.pdf
[*22] https://ldh.la.gov/assets/oph/Center-PHCH/Center-PH/immunizations/You%20Have%20Qs%20COVID19_Vaccine_FAQ.pdf
[*23] http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/docs/vaccine/VaccineDevelopment
[*24] https://www.projectveritas.com/news/pfizer-leaks-whistleblower-goes-on-record-reveals-internal-emails-from-chief/
[*25] Id.
[*26]  https://lc.org/PDFs/Attachments2PRsLAs/100121LtrNorthshoreReUnlawfulDenialsofReligiousExemptions_Redacted.pdf
[*27] https://lc.org/exempt
[*28] https://www.eeoc.gov/federal-sector/overview-federal-sector-eeo-complaint-process
[*29] https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2082
[*30] https://edgarcountywatchdogs.com/2021/10/the-restraining-order-against-quincy-physicians-and-surgeons-clinic/
[*31] https://gov.texas.gov/uploads/files/press/EO-GA-40_prohibiting_vaccine_mandates_legislative_action_IMAGE_10-11-2021.pdf


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