The Biden administration is facing criticism over a questionnaire included in their form for federal employees seeking a religious exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
The Safer Federal Workforce task force website posted an updated template on Friday for the federal government to use when assessing whether an employee can qualify for a religious exemption.
Questions asked on the form include a request to “describe the nature of your objection to the COVID-19 vaccination requirement” and an explanation for how being vaccinated would “substantially burden your religious exercise or conflict with your sincerely held religious beliefs.”
The form also requests any possible additional information, including: “How long you have held the religious belief underlying your objection,” “Whether your religious objection is to the use of all vaccines, COVID-19 vaccines, a specific type of COVID-19 vaccine, or some other subset of vaccines,” and “Whether you have received vaccines as an adult against any other diseases (such as a flu vaccine or a tetanus vaccine).”
Before the updated version was added to the website on Friday, the religious exemption form template received criticism from some who believe the questionnaire is problematic.
Andrea R. Lucas, a Republican commissioner at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, told The Federalist her concerns about the form.
“The law does not provide a pandemic-related exception for disregarding the rights of religious employees,” Lucas said. “No matter the context, intrusive questions presuming insincerity from the start, seeking to ‘catch’ an employee in an inconsistency, and looking for any reason to deny a religious accommodation request, are inappropriate.”
Earlier this month, U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., sent a letter to the leadership of the Safer Federal Workforce Taskforce arguing that the questions showcased a “contempt for religious liberty.”
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