The Southern District of Ohio Rules that Veganism can Constitute a “Moral and Ethical Belief” which is “Sincerely Held with the Strength of Traditional Religious Views,” and Thereby Form the Basis for Claims of Religious Discrimination Under Title VII and Ohio Revised Code Chapter 4112

In Chenzira v. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, S.D. Ohio No. 1:11-CV-00917 (Dec. 27, 2012), the plaintiff, Sakile S. Chenzira, was employed by defendant Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (“Children’s Hospital”) as a customer service representative for more than a decade.  Nonetheless, Children’s Hospital fired Chenzira when she refused to be vaccinated for the flu.  Chenzira refused to be vaccinated because she is a vegan – a person who does not ingest any animal or animal by-products.

Chenzira brought a three-count complaint against Children’s Hospital, alleging that her discharge constituted (1) religious discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; (2) religious discrimination in violation of Ohio Revised Code Chapter 4112; and (3) tortious wrongful discharge in violation of Ohio public policy.

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