Every attorney we've consulted has questioned the legality of the additional questions. They are invasive. They ask for medical info like what vaccines you 've had in the past and if you use some over the counter drugs.
Liberty Counsel's letter cites cases that certainly seem to indicate that it is not. That's why we call it the Inquisition.
UPDATE: One employee questioned whether the expanded questions were necessary. They were told it wasn't and their original accommodation was accepted. See screen shot to the left.
If you've received a request to fill out the expanded form it could be a 2nd chance. If your original submission did not clearly explain your sincerely held belief and why getting a Covid shot violates that belief, this could be an opportunity to clarify. HOWEVER, instead of trying to answer every question on the form, look at your original submission and see if you can find anything that you feel you need to clarify based on the expansive list.
You can also send a request to HR to ask for an explanation about what part of your original submission needs to be clarified rather than try to guess. You might get a great response like this employee!
We've been trying to evaluate what is triggering a request for more info and at this time we don't have enough data. (If you're willing to share your experience please email email@example.com ) Some people are getting the form when they file their 1st request, others it's a response after submission. We suspect that someone on the HR team that is doing the evaluating is using it as a bully tactic because it seems totally random. Do they want to make us pay for the request and refusal to just take the jab? Maybe...?
Also, we've heard that putting in anything political may automatically cause a request for more info. And putting in anything medical without explaining how that info informs your beliefs may trigger the inquisition. So review your submission to see if you need to edit it.
Review your original submission and compare it to the accepted exemptions we've posted in Files and Docs on this website. Reword, edit or otherwise clarify your original submission, and return it will a copy of the Liberty Council Opinion also found under files and docs. "Thank you for an opportunity to clarify my original submission. People who are not familiar with my faith tradition might not see how the Covid 19 shot violates my sincerely held belief. I hope that my expanded submission helps clear up any doubts to the contrary."
If you feel that you've clearly explained your sincerely held belief and how getting the covid shot violates that belief. You could resubmit with a copy of the Liberty Counsel Legal Opinion that cites Title VII of the EEOC and all precedents that protect you from being questioned about your beliefs.
The attorney we spoke to said that it's important to not ignore the request and if you need more than 5 days to respond then you need to request it.
Inform HR that you are consulting an attorney for further guidance and would like time to schedule and attend an appointment. "I received your request for more information. As I felt that I clearly communicated my sincerely held belief in my original submission I am exercising my right to seek legal advice. I will respond to your request once I've had adequate time to do that." Then schedule an attorney!
If you're on PTO, also inform them.
If you don't understand why they want more info, engage and ask them specifically what information they need because the list is so expansive and you felt you clearly communicated your sincerely held belief the first time. Narrowing it down will help you respond accurately, or on further review it could be accepted. "I am confused by the request for more information as I felt I clearly described my sincerely held belief, how the Covid shot is in conflict with that belief and the accommodation I'm seeking. Please specifically let me know which of those you feel was inadequate."
The key is to RESPOND, don't ignore it.
Simply put, yes. There are a number of gotcha questions. Here are a few.
Have you taken other vaccines in the last 10 years? The Covid shots are not like traditional vaccines but if you got a flu shot then Gotcha.
Did you know that although Tylenol, Ibuprophen, Tums and many other pharmaceuticals are now tested against fetal cell? They were developed years before but a lot of drugs are now tested that way. Gotcha!
Were you in the military? Well, then you were injected with God knows what so this shouldn't be any big deal. Gotcha!
So focus on what is important to your Sincerely Held Belief and your request for accommodation. And submit what you feel comfortable with. If you get denied there is an appeal process but that's even more time lost and possibly hiring an attorney to navigate the process.
This will be updated as they come in. Good work guys!