Catholic leaders issue new guidance for those looking to be exempt from vaccines for religious reasons

Published: Aug. 22, 2021 at 6:50 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WISN) - As the list of companies mandating employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine grows, so does the number of people claiming religious exemption.

Now, Wisconsin Catholic leaders are issuing new guidance over religious exemptions, as it requires a legal balancing act.

On Friday, Wisconsin’s Catholic bishops issued a statement encouraging vaccines, as well as the right to request exemptions for reasons of religion or conscience:

“Pastors should not feel compelled to issue documentation recognizing this conscientious objection and are recommended not to do so,” says part of the statement. You can find the full document below, or by clicking here.

Employers are legally allowed to ask if an employee’s concerns about the vaccine are due to its safety, effectiveness, or political beliefs, or even the company’s authority to require the shot, and those are not considered religious beliefs, so a company can deny that exemption.

“And then they should expect a process to work together to identify is this a belief that would be protected under the law, and if so, are there accommodations that might be available in the workplace,” said Sarah Platt, a Labor Law attorney.

If you are denied, your employer could create accommodations such as wearing a mask in the workplace, or getting tested weekly.

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