It has been brought to the attention of The Vault Project that many employers are requesting a signed letter from a pastor on their religious exemption request forms for COVID vaccines. Although Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) do not require clergy letters to be submitted in order to obtain a religious accommodation to receiving the COVID vaccine, some may desire to provide a letter.
In addition, some requests allow individuals to provide additional information to affirm their sincerely held religious beliefs, practices or observances. Although an employer cannot deny a religious exemption solely on the basis of failure to provide a letter from a pastor — as Title VII and the EEOC also do not require individuals to be part of an organized religion or denomination — providing such may increase the chances of an exemption being granted.
Below is a sample letter provided by a pastor to The Vault Project that has accompanied over 60 successful religious exemption requests. Since your pastor may not be familiar with the biblical objections to COVID vaccines, you can print this letter off, customize it with your name and contact information and ask if your pastor will sign it. You can also email your pastor the letter to be printed on church letterhead.
Note: This sample letter has been redacted to protect the identity of the pastor and church who provided this form.