SPRINGDALE, AR – Liberty Counsel has sent a demand letter on behalf of employees in multiple states to Tyson Foods regarding the company’s attempt to punish employees with one year of unpaid leave for not taking the COVID injection. Liberty Counsel is prepared to take legal action if Tyson does not accommodate these employees’ religious exemption requests.
On August 3, 2021, Tyson announced its “Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Policy,” stating that Tyson “is requiring its team members at U.S. office locations to be fully vaccinated by October 1, 2021.” Tyson also informed all other employees that they must be vaccinated by November 1, 2021, subject to ongoing discussions with locations represented by unions.”
Tyson is telling its employees who filed for religious exemptions that the so-called “accommodation” will be a one-year leave of absence with no pay, and after the one year, they will be terminated.
A one-year leave of absence without pay followed by termination is no accommodation at all. Tyson employees are protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Under Title VII, Tyson must reasonably accommodate its employees unless doing so would be an undue hardship on the company. However, the past accommodations during which the COVID shots have been available prove that Tyson can, and must, do better.
Tyson must obey state and federal law.
Tyson has many ways it can reasonably accommodate employees with sincere religious beliefs against vaccination. Tyson can allow personal protective equipment, self-monitoring of conditions, temperature checks and a multitude of other measures that were sufficient until now, and that scores of employers around the country are continuing to allow for their employees. And, for some employees, Tyson can allow work from home.
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “Tyson Foods cannot punish employees for their religious exemptions against the shot mandate. Tyson is violating federal and state law by discriminating against employees’ sincerely held religious beliefs. No one should be forced to inject this or any substance in their bodies against their will. It is wrong to violate the fundamental right to free and informed consent and bully people into compliance.” Liberty Counsel is a public law firm and a news partner with the Wyoming News.