What constitutes a religious exemption?

NY Capitol News

FILE – In this Sept. 14, 2021 file photo, a syringe is prepared with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic at the Reading Area Community College in Reading, Pa. President Joe Biden has directed OSHA to write a rule requiring employers with at least 100 workers to force employees to get vaccinated or produce weekly test results showing they are virus free.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A temporary restraining order has been put on New York State’s health care worker vaccine mandate until October 12, and the Attorney General’s Office had until 5 p.m. Wednesday to submit its opposition papers. 

Earlier this month a group of health care professionals filed a lawsuit against state officials over the requirement that health care workers in the state be vaccinated against COVID. The plaintiffs want a religious exemption. Tully Rinckey Employment Attorney Melanie Franco says that when it comes to religious exemptions, a moral or philosophical objection is not enough.

“It has to be that sincere belief. You don’t often have to prove it using documents or anything like that although using your religious scripture is always helpful,” Franco said.

Opponents have said the mandate will cause more people to leave the health care field. Today people who oppose vaccine mandates took to the State Capitol grounds.

Public Employee Federation President Wayne Spence says Gov. Kathy Hochul is “not to blame” for the staffing crisis and people leaving the industry. In a statement, he said, “Nurses employed by the State of New York have not seen an increase to their starting salary grade in 30 years, since 1981. The vaccine mandate is just the final straw for some of them. Is it any wonder that some of them are choosing to resign?”

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