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Few options available for employees who don't want vaccine, expert says

covid vaccine
Posted at 7:44 PM, Sep 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-17 19:44:43-04

CLEVELAND — On Sept. 9, President Joe Biden unveiled a six-pronged plan to combat COVID-19 in the United States this fall which includes a new emergency rule requiring vaccinations or weekly testing at businesses with 100 or more employees. That announcement left some employees asking: "What if I don't want the vaccine?"

Sharona Hoffman, professor of law and bioethics at Case Western Reserve University School of Law said there aren't many options for employees who don't want to get the jab.

"As long as they provide the exceptions for people who have a medical reason not to get the vaccine and a bona fide religious reason not to get the vaccine, the employer mandate is legitimate and employees have to comply," Hoffman said.

Hoffman said employees seeking medical exemptions to not get the vaccine will likely have to provide a note from their doctor detailing why they can't get the shot. But religious exemptions are a little more unclear.

Some employees may ask for a letter from a clergy person or some other kind of proof that their opposition to getting the vaccine falls under a religious belief and not just a political one.

Employees who feel as though they have been wrongfully denied an exemption on a religious basis would then need to take their concerns to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

For employees who don't meet the criteria for a vaccine exemption and still don't want it, Hoffman said there is always one last solution.

"Get another job," Hoffman said.

RELATED: Gov. DeWine says Biden's vaccine mandate is a 'mistake' despite saying it's 'best tool to stop COVID-19'

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