Four employees of the pharmaceutical company Bristol Myers Squibb, including a physician, are suing after the company reportedly denied their requests for exemption from Covid-19 vaccine mandates on the basis of religious beliefs.
The lead plaintiff is Dr. Carrie Kefalas, a mother of three. Other plaintiffs include a biotechnologist, a data integrity professional, and a biologist.
According to a lawyer for the employees, "In an effort to test the sincerity of the plaintiffs' religious beliefs, [Bristol Myers Squibb] subjected employees to a rigorous interrogation that in some cases includes such questions as whether the employee had ever smoked tobacco, consumed alcohol, took recreational drugs, or received a tattoo."
Read the press announcement from We The Patriots USA below. We The Patriots describes itself as a nonprofit seeking to protect individual liberties and Constitutional rights.
NEW YORK, Dec. 1, 2021 /PRNewswire/ --Four employees of Bristol Myers Squibb Co. (BMS) filed a federal lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of NY today, alleging religious discrimination after the company denied their requests for an exemption to BMS's covid vaccine mandate for employees. The lawsuit was made possible through the support of We The Patriots USA, Inc. (WTP USA), a nonprofit organization that seeks to protect and defend individual liberties and Constitutional rights, including religious and medical freedom.
Carrie Kefalas, John Lott, Jeremy Beer, and Kamila Dubisz filed the lawsuit after BMS refused to provide them with an exemption as an accommodation for their sincerely-held religious beliefs. Kefalas is a physician, Lott is a biotechnologist, Beer is a data integrity professional, and Dubisz is a biologist. Dr. Kefalas, the lead plaintiff, is a U.S. military veteran and physician who holds both a medical degree and a Masters in Public Health (MPH), and is currently employed by BMS as the Head of Clinical Trial Risk Management for Global Drug Development. Dr. Kefalas is also the single mother of three minor children.
In an effort to test the sincerity of the plaintiffs' religious beliefs, BMS subjected employees to a rigorous interrogation that in some cases includes such questions as whether the employee had ever smoked tobacco, consumed alcohol, took recreational drugs, or received a tattoo.
The compulsory injection of an experimental foreign substance with known and widespread adverse side effects--including death--and procured with the assistance of aborted fetal cell lines, cannot be compared to drinking a beer. That such a question was posed to employees demonstrates an utter lack of understanding of the interactive process required by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and we are confident that the plaintiffs will be successful in this litigation. It didn't have to come to this, but we are proud to stand up for the plaintiffs in their pursuit of religious liberty.We The Patriot USA
BMS has threatened to terminate the plaintiffs' employment if they do not receive the covid shot by December 6, 2021. The lawsuit seeks both preliminary and permanent injunctions enjoining BMS from terminating the employment of the plaintiffs and all other similarly-situated BMS employees.
Attorney Cameron Atkinson, Of Counsel for WTP USA and an associate at Pattis & Smith, LLC, is representing the plaintiffs. Attorney Atkinson provided the following statement shortly after filing the lawsuit: "Bristol Myers Squibb has abandoned logic in the name of hysteria and is systematically purging people of faith from its workforce. The law doesn't permit Bristol Myers Squibb to act as a modern Spanish Inquisition and destroy people's lives simply because it doesn't like their religious beliefs."
Kristine Williams says
No one has the right, or the authority, to "evaluate" anyone's religious beliefs, not even that person's pastor, priest or shaman. What a person believes, and holds deeply as a religious belief, are between that person and his/her/their deity. I am a Evangelical Christian, I drink alcohol on occasion, I have several tattoos, and being an American by birth I have the legal right to worship and believe as I see fit and I do not have to justify, explain or beg for anything based on my religion. I also believe every human being should be afforded the same rights, religious or not. A Religious Exemption isn't something that should be "asked" for, it should simply be a matter of declaration. Of choice. Of right. It baffles me that anyone, especially in this country but honestly on this Earth, should assume they could say No.
Amen! (Convenient pun)
I applied for a religious exemption (company calls it a “job accommodation”) and it ultimately goes to my boss for approval. I was startled to learn it was up to him to approve.. 8 days late for decision so far. Figures..