Tuesday, June 07, 2016

EEOC Sues Claiming Inadequate Accommodation of Refusal To Take Flu Shot

The EEOC announced last week that it has filed suit in a Massachusetts federal district court against Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Massachusetts for failing to accommodate an employee who, for religious reasons, refused to get a flu vaccination.  The medical center allows employees with religious objections to instead wear a mask at work.  Stephanie Clarke, a recruiter in Baystate's human resources department, initially wore the mask, but job applicants could not understand her when they spoke to her. So she removed her mask and requested Baystate to find a different accommodation. Instead Baystate put her on indefinite, unpaid leave, and when she complained it terminated her employment. EEOC argues that an accommodation under Title VII must both respect the employee's religious beliefs and permit her to do her job effectively. Here she was terminated because she complained about religious discrimination. BNA Daily Labor Report has more on the suit.