Michigan Hospital Pays Settlement to Job Applicant Refusing Flu Vaccine

Trinity Health Grand Rapids, a Michigan hospital, agreed to settle a lawsuit after denying a job applicant’s religious exemption from the flu vaccine.

The worker is to receive $50,000.

“As part of the settlement, the hospital must train its senior leaders and human resources employees on Title VII’s religious protections,” Liberty Counsel wrote.

After the applicant filed a religious exemption, the hospital said the claim was “insufficient” without providing an explanation. Title VII calls for employers to make “‘reasonable’ accommodations for religious employees unless the accommodation presents an ‘undue hardship’ on the employer,” Liberty Counsel explained, describing guidance set by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

According to the guidance, one’s religious belief is “largely a matter of individual credibility” and is “usually not in dispute.”

The EEOC sued the hospital, arguing that it showed “reckless indifference” to the applicant’s rights.

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said of the settlement, “Federal law requires employers to accommodate sincerely held religious beliefs unless the employer can show that doing so will result in an undue hardship. Employees should never have to choose between their faith and their job.”