Thursday, October 06, 2016

Favoring Religious Over Non-Religious Objections Is Not Religious Discrimination

In Brown v. Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center, Inc., (NJ App., Oct. 3, 2016), a New Jersey state appellate court held that a community health educator who was fired for refusing to comply with a medical center's compulsory flu vaccination policy could not establish a prima facie case of religious discrimination under New Jersey's Law Against Discrimination.  Plaintiff argued that by permitting exemptions for those with religious objections, but not for those opposed to vaccination for other reasons, her employer had discriminated by favoring religious over non-religious grounds. According to the court:
[Plaintiff]  did not allege that the adverse employment action taken against her was because of her membership in a protected class. Without any allegation that she was a member of a protected class based upon her race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, plaintiff's LAD discrimination claim was futile.
New Jersey Law Journal reports on the decision.