NEW YORK, Dec 1 (Reuters) – Bristol Myers Squibb Co (BMY.N) was sued on Wednesday by 4 workers who mentioned the drugmaker refused to grant them spiritual exemptions from its COVID-19 vaccination requirement, and threatened to fireside them on Dec. 6 for remaining unvaccinated.
The plaintiffs within the proposed class motion filed in Manhattan federal court docket accused Bristol Myers of violating a federal civil rights legislation referred to as Title VII by “systematically manufacturing” causes to refuse spiritual lodging.
The plaintiffs allege that Bristol Myers is concluding their politics is the actual cause they will not be vaccinated, no matter whether or not they have honest spiritual beliefs that independently would justify exemptions.
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They additionally mentioned the corporate is ignoring honest spiritual beliefs which are “inconvenient” to denial selections, even because it accommodates workers with medical causes to not be vaccinated.
Bristol Myers mentioned its precedence through the pandemic has been the well being and security of communities, workers and sufferers.
“Our coverage that every one eligible workers in (the) U.S. and Puerto Rico be vaccinated towards COVID-19 is per this security precedence,” the New York-based firm mentioned in a press release.
Wednesday’s lawsuit got here because the Biden administration seeks to require vaccinations for tens of millions of staff at massive personal U.S. employers, a mandate can also be being challenged in court docket.
Many well being officers take into account widespread vaccinations one of the best ways to assist management the pandemic.
The Bristol Myers plaintiffs, all with six-figure salaries, are Carrie Kefalas, a doctor overseeing scientific trial danger administration for drug improvement; biotechnologist John Lott; knowledge integrity supervisor Jeremy Beer, and biologist Kamila Dubisz.
They objected to the corporate requiring they fill out “inquisitorial” questionnaires about their causes for spiritual exemptions.
The criticism mentioned Bristol Myers rejected Kefalas’ request as a result of it thought her beliefs had been insincere and he or she won’t settle for mask-wearing or common COVID-19 testing. The firm supplied no causes for the opposite rejections, the criticism mentioned.
Bristol Myers referred in Kefalas’ rejection letter to a number of statements it mentioned she made publicly, together with that its vaccine requirement was a “communist, unamerican observe [sic].”
The lawsuit seeks a everlasting injunction towards Bristol Myers’ firing the plaintiffs or equally located workers.
Bristol Myers ended 2020 with about 17,000 U.S. workers.
The case is Kefalas et al v Bristol-Myers Squibb Co, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 21-10204.
Register now for FREE limitless entry to reuters.comRegisterReporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Bill Berkrot and Cynthia Osterman
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