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Ohio Courts May Deem Veganism a Religious Belief

US District Court declines to dismiss a vegan-based religious discrimination lawsuit from a hospital employee who refused to take a flu vaccine.

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center Customer Service Representative Sakile Chenzira was fired in 2010 after she refused to be administered a flu shot because the vaccine was not vegan-friendly (it was produced in eggs and is tested on animals). In response to her termination, Chenzira issued a religious discrimination lawsuit against her former employer, and an Ohio federal district court has declined the hospital’s request to dismiss the charges. “The court finds it plausible that [Chenzira] could subscribe to veganism with a sincerity equating that of traditional religious views,” writes Senior District Judge S. Arthur Spiegel. The court’s decision was based on a statute from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and an essay titled “The Biblical Basis of Veganism.”

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