In Troogstad v. City of Chicago, (ND IL, Nov. 24, 2021), an Illinois federal district court refused to grant a temporary restraining order to city employees who were challenging the state and city mandatory COVID vaccination policy. Among plaintiffs’ various challenges was a free exercise claim, to which the court said in part:
To be clear, if a particular employee is denied a religious exemption, she may challenge that denial, based on the particular facts of her case, as a violation of her free exercise rights. But no Plaintiffs have been denied a religious exemption on grounds other than failing to adequately articulate their individual circumstances, as the City Vaccination Policy requires….
The court also rejected plaintiffs’ claims that the vaccination mandate violates the Illinois Healthcare Right of Conscience Act, saying in part:
Plaintiffs might well be correct, if the City Vaccination Policy did not contain any avenue for religious exemptions.
But the City Vaccination Policy does provide a detailed religious exemption process that protects anyone who holds sincere religious objections to being vaccinated.