Denial of Religious Exemption Request Violates First Amendment

2022 Aug 1Constitutional Litigation, Vaccine Mandate Litigation

Many workers in California who refused a Covid vaccination applied for a religious exemption but were denied.  This problem is particularly acute for those employed by Los Angeles City. But I think that problem can now be effectively addressed through a class action lawsuit against the City, based on a recent US Supreme Court case. The US Supreme Court recently re-affirmed its commitment to religious neutrality under the First Amendment Establishment Clause in Carson v. Makin. This case makes it clear that a governmental entity cannot refuse a bona fide religious exemption request.  On the heels of Carson v. Makin, a class action case in Northern District of Illinois just reached a settlement for payment to all persons who filed a religious exemption request, but then suffered employment termination.  The case is Doe 1 v. NorthShore University Health System, Case: 1:21-cv-05683. The proposed settlement agreement is here. Many Los Angeles City employees have had religious exemption requests denied.  I believe a valid class action case against the City, based on Carson v. Makin can be won. Contact this firm with any questions or comments: [email protected]


Kevin McBride is a Pension & Benefits Litigation Attorney in Los Angeles, California, USA.

He is admitted into three California US District Courts (Central, Southern, and Northern), the US District Court for the District of Utah, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. McBride holds a BA degree in Economics from the University of Utah and a JD from the University of Utah College of Law, where he served on the Utah Law Review. He is a member of the Federalist Society and the Federal Bar Association.