Nathaniel Glasser Quoted in “Nurse’s Refusal to Administer COVID-19 Vaccine May Be Protected”


Nathaniel M. Glasser, Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s Washington, DC, office, was quoted in SHRM, in “Nurse’s Refusal to Administer COVID-19 Vaccine May Be Protected,” by Allen Smith.

Following is an excerpt:

An employer whose onsite nurse refuses, for religious reasons, to administer a COVID-19 vaccination must offer the employee a reasonable accommodation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. However, the employer doesn't have to make changes that would result in an undue hardship. …

Possible Accommodations

An employer might consider a range of accommodations under Title VII, according to Nathaniel Glasser, an attorney with Epstein Becker Green in Washington, D.C. These might include:

  • Reassigning the objecting medical professional to other duties.
  • Allowing the individual to make voluntary shift swaps to avoid vaccination duties.
  • Laterally transferring the individual.
  • Placing the individual on leave.

"A reasonable accommodation does not necessarily mean a total accommodation or providing the individual's preferred accommodation," he added. …

Undue Hardship

Examples of accommodation requests that may result in undue hardship, according to Glasser, include:

  • The employer must hire another worker to administer vaccines.
  • The rescheduling of other workers results in significantly increased overtime costs.
  • A nurse in a rural community is the only professional qualified to administer vaccines but refuses to do so for religious reasons.
  • An employee's refusal to administer vaccines results in the spoliation of many doses.