Three former Walt Disney World employees are suing the park over religious discrimination allegations.
Back on June 30, three former Walt Disney World employees filed a religious discrimination lawsuit against the park. According to the former employees, Barbara Andreas, Stephen Cribb, and Adam Pajer, they were “unlawfully terminated because of their faith-based concerns about pandemic-related safety protocols.”
The suit claims the employees were terminated from their positions after “refusing to wear masks and socially distance when unvaccinated.” Before they were fired, they had all worked at Disney for “at least seven years.” One of the plaintiffs, Andreas, requested a religious exemption from Disney’s policies, specifically where the COVID-19 vaccine is involved.
In her request, she stated, “participating in a medical experiment, such as COVID testing or vaccines involving aborted fetal cells would be an affront to her Christian beliefs.” Cribb and Pajer also cited their Christian faith when trying to get around Disney’s COVID-19 policies.
However, the Associated Press noted that “although cells descended from aborted fetuses were used in the development of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the COVID-19 shots do not contain fetal cells.” That hasn’t stopped many in the religious community from raising “abortion-related concerns when explaining their resistance to vaccination.”
Eventually, Florida ended up passing a law prohibiting private employers from “implementing vaccine mandates.” It also made it easier for employees to “seek faith-based and other exemptions and choose to opt for periodic testing or PPE.” As a result of the new law, Disney removed its Florida vaccine mandate, though it continued to “require unvaccinated individuals to wear face masks and social distance.”
Shortly after Andreas submitted her religious exemption about the masking rules, she received a letter from Disney refusing her request. It stated:
“After careful review of the information you provided, we are unable to conclude that you are prevented from wearing a face cover due to a sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance.”
When commenting on the suit, the Associated Press reported:
“The lawsuit claims that Disney’s ‘augmented protocols’ that were forced on nonvaccinated employees consisted of ‘harsh isolation and restrictions’ that caused ‘serious breathing’ and made it ‘nearly impossible to find a compliant manner and location in which to eat or drink while on shift.”
As part of the suit, Andreas, Cribb, and Pajer are looking for monetary compensation to cover lost wages, benefits, and attorney’s fees.