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Member Comments on Employee Religious Accommodations

McGinnis addresses Chenzira v. Cincinnati Children’s Hosp. Medical Center
Employment Alert
March 2013

Charlotte Employment Member Karin McGinnis was quoted in Thomson Reuters’Employment Alert, Volume 30, Number 5, on March 11.  The article “Court Considers Veganism’s Status as a Religion” overviews Chenzira v. Cincinnati Children’s Hosp. Medical Center, in which former Children’s Hospital employee Sakile Chenzira accused Children’s of unlawfully terminating her when she refused to submit to the flu vaccine.  Chenzira stated that her vegan practices do not allow her to receive the vaccine, as it is grown in chicken embryos, and argues that veganism is a protected religion under federal antidiscrimination law.

“'It will be interesting to see if Children’s can challenge the claim that veganism is a religion.  In the meantime, it’s a good reminder that employers should consider employees’ requests for religious accommodation on a case-by-case basis.  Just because their religion isn’t something you are familiar with doesn’t mean they’re not entitled to accommodations,’ McGinnis says.” 

Reprinted from Employment Alert, Volume 30, Number 5 (March 11, 2013), with permission of Thomson Reuters.