By Tom Hals
WILMINGTON, Del, Aug 12 (Reuters) – As coronavirus infections rise again, U.S. companies mandating vaccinations are confronting an uncomfortable question rarely asked by an employer – what is an employee’s religious belief?
Google’s parent Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), Walmart Inc (WMT.N), and Tyson Foods Inc (TSN.N) are among the growing list of employers requiring some or all staff to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
But with each mandate comes exceptions. Employers have to make reasonable accommodations for staff who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons or refuse vaccination because of “sincerely held religious beliefs,” according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
“It’s such a touchy subject for both sides,” said Erin McLaughlin, a Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney lawyer who advises large employers.