Fifth Circuit Rules Against Employee Who Refused Vaccines

Fifth Circuit Rules Against Employee Who Refused Vaccines

Many employers are considering mandatory vaccines as well as how to respond to employees’ requests for accommodation. More light is being shed on this due to the rise of Covid vaccines in the news. Fortunately, the Fifth Circuit Court has recently given a ruling considering the accommodations an employer offered to an employee who refused a mandatory tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (TDAP) vaccination.

The employer offered the employee, Brett Horvath, a transfer to a position that did not require the vaccine or the same position but with the use of a respirator, temperature log, and, whenever necessary medical testing. Horvath rejected the proposed accommodations, and his employment was subsequently terminated.

Horvath sued to allege a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act. The district court ruled in favor of the employer, and Horvath appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court.

Horvath argued that the alternate position was less desirable, and his subsequent termination was retaliation, as well as religious discrimination.

However, the Fifth Circuit relied upon precedent in ruling that an accommodation doesn’t need to be the preferred accommodation of the employee as long as it is effective and reasonable. Additionally, his termination was not for requesting an accommodation, but for refusing the ones he was offered.