(Reuters) – Bristol Myers Squibb Co. was sued on Wednesday by four employees who said the drugmaker refused to grant them religious exemptions from the covid-19 vaccination requirement and threatened to fire them on December 6 because they remained unvaccinated.
] A federal court has accused Bristol Myers of violating Section VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by "systematically making" reasons for refusing religious accommodation. policies are the real reason they will not be vaccinated, whether or not they have a sincere religious belief that would independently justify exceptions.
They also said the company ignores sincere religious beliefs that are "inconvenient" to deny decisions, even as it accepts employees for medical reasons not to be vaccinated.
Bristol Myers said that its priority during the pandemic has been the healing and safety of communities, employees and patients.
"Our policy that all eligible employees in (USA and Puerto Rico) to be vaccinated against covid-1
Many health officials believe that widespread vaccinations are the best way to help con troll the pandemic.
The complainants in Bristol Myers, all with six-figure salaries, are Carrie Kefalas, a physician who oversees risk management in clinical trials for drug development; biotechnologist John Lott; data integrity manager Jeremy Beer; and biologist Kamila Dubisz.
They objected to the company requiring them to fill out "inquisitorial" questionnaires about their reasons for religious exceptions.
she may not accept worm-bearing or standard covid-19 tests. The company stated no reason for the other refusals, the complaint said.
Bristol Myers referred in Kefala's refusal letter to several statements they said she made publicly, including that its vaccine claim was a "communist, un-American practice."  The lawsuit aims. to a permanent injunction against Bristol Myers' dismissal of plaintiffs or similar employees.
Bristol Myers ended 2020 with approximately 17,000 U.S. employees.
The case is Kefalas et al. v. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, no. 21-10204.