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Religious Discrimination: What exactly is “Religion”? Is Veganism A Protected Religion?

On Behalf of | Sep 25, 2013 | Religious Discrimination |

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Many people assume that when we talk about religion, we are talking about a belief in a god or deity, such as in the Christian, Jewish, or Muslim faiths. However, under the law, a “religious belief” can be any moral or ethical beliefs to what is right and wrong that is sincerely held with the strength of religious views.

Take the case of Chenzira v. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, for example. In that case, Chenzira, who had worked at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital for nearly ten years as a customer service representative, refused to receive a flu shot. The plaintiff stated that because she was a vegan, she could not ingest any animal or animal by-products. (The flu shot often utilizes animal by-products, such as eggs.) The Hospital responded by firing the Chenzira. Chenzira sued the Hospital, claiming that its firing her for refusing the flu shot discriminated against her because of her religion in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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The Hospital attempted to have Chenzira’s claim dismissed by arguing that, in its view, veganism does not qualify as a religion, and that it is no more than a dietary preference or social philosophy. The Southern District Court of Ohio, however, disagreed with the Hospital. In denying the Hospital’s motion to dismiss, the Court held that because it was plausible that Chenzira could subscribe to veganism with a sincerity equating that of traditional religious views, she could make out a claim for religious discrimination.

If you feel that you are being discriminated or harassed based on your religion or religious beliefs, the best course of action you can take is to call the right attorney at 866-797-6040 to schedule a free and confidential consultation. At Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, you will meet with a religious discrimination attorney, who will be able to tell you what your legal rights are and the best way to protect them.


The materials available at this employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. It is best contact an Ohio religious discrimination lawyer to obtain advice with respect to sexual harassment /hostile work environment questions or any particular employment law issue. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm or any individual attorney.

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