Hi Michele,

You might find this informal letter from the EEOC on Title 7 Religious Accommodation helpful :


Both of my employers have mandatory flu vaccination ... I've never gotten a flu vaccine and I never will.  Under Title 7, a person does not have to belong to a named, traditional, or theistic religion to get an accommodation.  A person does not have to belong to a religion that has specific written doctrine forbidding vaccinations.  A person might belong to a particular "religious" group that allows vaccinations, but might have deeply help beliefs against vaccination ... for example, by birth and ethnicity I am Jewish ( L'Shana Tova !), but I don't practice the religion.

According to the EEOC, the employer should assume that deeply held beliefs are sincere until proven otherwise.  For example, if I state in my exemption request that it is my sincerely held belief that not consuming the flesh of animals protects me from disease, and then I'm seen in the cafeteria eating a roast beef sandwich, that might suggest that my deeply held beliefs are not sincere. It is not up to the employer to "test" or verify or measure whether the beliefs are sincere.

I think many healthcare institutions deliberately mislead their employees about their rights under Title 7 in order to boost compliance, but once the complaint gets to the EEOC or the courtroom, the burden is on the employer to prove that the beliefs are not sincere.

Also, most of us have little direct contact with vulnerable patients, so it would be extremely difficult for our employers to argue that exemption from the vaccine would place an undue burden on them.

Initially both of my employers came up with exemption request forms that clearly violated employees' rights under Title 7, but when I pointed that out they changed them !!

Good luck !


Keene NH

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."
                                                                                   -- Theodore Roosevelt, 1910


> Date: Mon, 6 Oct 2014 15:24:54 -0500
> From: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Research Help - Measuring Religious Sincerity
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Hello Collective Brain,
> I've been working on this question for the past few weeks, but I'm not quite coming up with what the patron seeks ...
> The questions is looking for a tool(s) that will objectively measure religious sincerity or conviction.
> The background : With the flu shots now being required for ALL health care workers, people can still decline for medical or religious reasons. My patron wants to find a tool that will help them ascertain if people really are declining on sincere religious grounds or not ... How can that be measured? What tools are out there?
> I've searched Medline and the usual health science databases, even Google and Scholar. I have come up with some legal cases where they also test the for religious conviction (You know those cases where the parents refuse medical help for their children on religious grounds.)
> Here are a few things I did find :
> Ethical Exemptions for Seasonal Flu Vaccines This powerpoint seems to offer the best guidance. It goes through several religions and what specific / official objections they may have to vaccines : Though it doesn't mention religious sincerity ...
> Some of this type of info seems to come for legal cases on vaccine refusal on religious grounds. Here's one case from New Yorkers for Vaccination Information and Choice : Most of these cases concern school children and vacination requirements. It does a good job of laying out how a judge would ascertain sincerity.
> Although I searched all the usual places, I didn't feel like I was coming up with the specific answers she was looking for. Can anyone out there help add to this body of knowledge? I'm stumped ...
> Thanks!
> Michele
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> Michele Matucheski, MLS, AHIP
> Librarian & Information Consultant - The Clark Family Health Science Library
> Mercy Medical Center - Affinity / Ministry Health Care
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