On May 1, 2023, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a lawsuit against Mercy Health St. Mary's in Grand Rapids, Michigan, alleging religious discrimination. The suit claims that the hospital violated federal law when it failed to provide a religious accommodation to an applicant and declined to hire him because of his religious beliefs. Mercy Health has approximately 800 hospital beds in its five hospital campuses located in Grand Rapids, Muskegon, and Lakeshore, Michigan.
In the complaint, the EEOC alleges that Mercy Health St. Mary’s violated Title VII by rescinding a job offer to the applicant who, for religious reasons, refused to receive a flu vaccine. Under Mercy Health’s influenza policy, employees are required to get a flu shot on an annual basis unless granted an exemption. While the applicant’s conditional job offer was pending, the complaint alleges, he applied for an exemption to the flu shot requirement based on his religious beliefs. According to the complaint, Mercy Health arbitrarily denied his request and rescinded the job offer, without informing the applicant why or how his request for an exemption was deficient.
The EEOC seeks monetary relief for the employee as well as injunctive relief to prevent future discrimination against employees or applicants on the basis of religion. The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan as EEOC v. Mercy Health St. Mary’s, Case No. 1:23-cv-00435.
Consistent with EEOC guidelines and court decisions, Clear Law’s online disability, pregnancy, and religious accommodations training covers how to comply with the law and additional obligations for compliance. Clear Law’s accommodations training addresses all of the required content of all federal and state laws. As required by the ADA and various state and local laws, the training addresses topics such as the ADA’s definition of a “qualified person with a disability” and “‘essential functions’ of a job.”
To comply with federal guidelines and state laws, employers must ensure that all aspects of their Disability, Pregnancy, and Religious Accommodations program are fully compliant. With its in-house legal expertise, Clear Law Institute provides employers a complete accommodation awareness program with the following elements:
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