A Title VII religious discrimination lawsuit was filed yesterday in a Florida federal district court by three musicians who have religious objections to COVID vaccines. They were placed on partial-paid leave by their private employer, an arts organization that operates the Naples Philharmonic, when they refused to comply with the employer’s vaccine mandate. The complaint (full text) in Leigh v. Artis-Naples, Inc., (MD FL, filed 9/21/2022), alleges in part:
Artis-Naples implemented an illegal policy that no exemption or accommodation would or could be granted to any employee who had to be present onsite to perform their job….
Artis-Naples irrationally and pretextually argues that accommodating unvaccinated employees who follow alternative preventative measures would place an “undue hardship” on its operations—specifically, that unvaccinated employees present “a direct threat” of infection to patrons and coworkers….
Florida law requires Artis-Naples to exempt Plaintiffs from the Mandate….
As a matter of law, it can never be an “undue hardship” for an employer to comply with the state law and public policy.