In employment discrimination case, federal court says veganism might qualify as a religion

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Chenzira v. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, (SD OH, Dec. 27, 2012), an Ohio federal district court held that a hospital customer service worker may be able to show that her employer’s refusal to accommodate her vegan beliefs amounted to religious discrimination under Title VII and state anti-discrimination laws.  Plaintiff was fired for refusing to be vaccinated against the flu.  She claimed that the discharge violated her religious and philosophical convictions because as a vegan she would not ingest any animal or animal by-products.  In refusing to dismiss the complaint, the court, rejecting defendant’s argument that veganism does not qualify as a religion, said:

The Court finds it plausible that Plaintiff could subscribe to veganism with a sincerity equating that of traditional religious views…. The Court’s conclusion is further bolstered by Plaintiff’s citation to essays and Biblical excerpts. 

JD Supra Law News reports on the decision.