Can you claim a religious exemption in the workplace for the COVID-19 vaccine?

Attorney Don Vaughan is an adjunct law professor at Wake Forest University. CBS17 News recently sat down with Vaughan to learn more about the legal aspects in claiming a religious exemption in the workplace. Watch full story here.

Russ Bowen  Sep 23, 2021 / 05:48 PM EST

North Carolina news

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Claiming a religious exemption to skip out on a work-required COVID-19 vaccine isn’t always easy.

It all takes root in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The law essentially requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for employees who can’t fulfill a job requirement due to religious beliefs.

“I don’t believe the 1964 Civil Rights Act wanted employers to end up being the judge of religious exemptions but that’s what the law of the land is,” said Don Vaughan, an attorney, Wake Forest University law professor, and former North Carolina state senator.

What can complicate matters is that the law doesn’t give a lot of guidance when it comes to defining religion.

“Because the president has mandated over 100 million folks to get the vaccine, you’re going to see many folks that want to use this as a loophole,” Vaughan said.

There is no standardized federal or state form for companies to use. Vaughan said an employer has every right to ask for specifics.