A federal lawsuit has been filed against Takeda Pharmaceuticals by some of its former employees who blame the firm for not having provided religious exemptions for the COVID-19 vaccines. Headquartered in Tokyo, Takeda is a multinational enterprise with nearly 50,000 employees worldwide and the largest pharma company in Asia.
The lawsuit, filed on Nov. 18 in the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts, claims that Takeda instituted a mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policy for all field employees and required workers to submit proof of vaccination by Nov. 1, 2021. The vaccination policy asked employees seeking religious exemptions to specify the nature of the exemption. After receiving the request, the company appointed an investigator who then contacted the applicant for more information about the situation.
If the investigator or the company believed the exemption claim was not sincerely held or imposes “undue hardship” on the firm, they would reject the request.
“Takeda rarely, if ever, finds the religious beliefs of an employee ‘sincere’ enough to warrant an exemption,” the lawsuit stated.
“When it cannot defeat the claims of a believer by claiming insincerity, Takeda then claims that accommodating the religious beliefs of an employee or prospective employee would pose an undue hardship on its business. The result is that Takeda almost never grants religious exemptions.”
While seeking religious exemptions, the plaintiffs had expressed concerns about getting injected with substances that were developed “in part by use of aborted fetal stem cells.” The plaintiffs, who are all Christians, worked in the field by interacting with clients.
Takeda denied religious exemption to plaintiffs by insisting that doing so would force it to face the loss of competitive advantage against other pharma companies whose employees were willing to have face-to-face meetings with clients.
The lawsuit pointed out that Takeda granted medical exemptions to many employees who were allowed to work remotely despite “whatever competitive disadvantage” the decision may have entailed.
The company also shared the content of interviews they had with plaintiffs regarding the exemptions with other workers, thus subjecting these individuals to “scorn and suspicion.”
Violating US Laws
The lawsuit noted that the United States is the only nation in which Takeda does business where religious exemptions to vaccination requirements are “mandated as a matter of law.”
This requirement arises from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as well as the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
“Takeda fosters an atmosphere of hostility to employees openly professing Christian beliefs, regarding those beliefs as, at best, anachronistic, and inconsistent with the company’s vision of scientific progress,” it said.
The lawsuit sought damages from the company for lost wages, emotional distress, attorney fees as well as punitive damages. The plaintiffs requested a trial by jury.
The lawsuit was filed by law firms Mendenhall Law Group and Pattis and Smith. It was funded by the nonprofit We Patriots USA Inc.
The nonprofit expressed hope that the lawsuit brings to light the sufferings of numerous people due to decisions made during the last two years, according to a Nov. 18 press release. For such people, the COVID-19 crisis “is far from over.”
“We are confident that we will obtain a victory for religious freedom that will ensure that discrimination against those with religious beliefs opposed to certain vaccinations is never justified in the eyes of the law,” it said.
The Epoch Times reached out to Takeda Pharmaceuticals for comment.