Los Alamos National Lab Employees Bring Federal Lawsuit Over COVID-19 Religious Discrimination

Workers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory are suing their employers at the government-funded national security research facility. Thomas More Society attorneys filed the federal lawsuit on October 22, 2021, in United States District Court over a COVID-19 vaccination mandate that discriminates against employees who seek religious or medical exemptions.

Those employees at the Los Alamos lab who choose not to receive a COVID-19 vaccination for religious or medical reasons face imminent loss of income, benefits, and ultimate termination under the government laboratory’s punitive policy.

“This is discrimination, pure and simple,” stated Thomas More Society Special Counsel Tyler Brooks. “Los Alamos claims to have offered exemptions for those who have sincere religious reasons for not taking a mandatory COVID vaccine, but their one-size-fits-all so-called ‘accommodation’ is flagrantly illegal. Accommodation by termination has never been a lawful option.”

Brooks explained how the eight employees filing the lawsuit attempted to resolve the matter outside of court, as the Thomas More Society attorneys sent a demand letter to Dr. Thomas E. Mason, Director of Los Alamos National Laboratory, on October 11, 2021, asking him to revisit the facility’s drastic vaccine policy. Mason’s brief response received on October 13 declined any consideration of revision, stating that the lab’s policy “complies with all state and federal laws.”

Likewise, a second letter sent to Los Alamos National Laboratory on October 18 by Thomas More Society attorneys received no satisfactory response to a request to revisit the way employees seeking accommodations were being treated, even though the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee had just issued a temporary restraining order against Oak Ridge National Laboratory based on very similar claims.

“The policy that Mason labels as ‘compliant’ is a ridiculous solution that places all employees granted an accommodation on indefinite leave without pay, revokes their health benefits, renders them ineligible for salary increases and bonuses, denies any right of appeal, and refuses any attempt to engage in any interactive dialog concerning ways the employees might reasonably be accommodated without undue hardship – even for employees working from home since March 2020,” explained Brooks.

The lawsuit enumerates the lab’s violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits religious discrimination, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, along with federal constitutional violations of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause, and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Attorney Angelo Artuso, Brooks’ co-counsel, detailed how Los Alamos National Laboratory has refused requests for medical accommodations to those who have fully recovered from COVID-19 and thus have natural immunity, despite the fact that the most recent studies plainly show that natural immunity is at least as strong as, if not far stronger than, any immunity obtained from the vaccines.

“Los Alamos has clearly failed to comply with Title VII by not even attempting to accommodate employees granted a religious exemption. Instead, they have relegated them all to an indefinite leave without pay, and other punishments,” Brooks summarized. He concluded: “Los Alamos National Laboratory’s purpose is to solve national security challenges, not trample on the constitutionally guaranteed rights of its employees.”

Read the Amended Verified Complaint filed October 22, 2021, by Thomas More Society attorneys in the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico, Raul Archuleta, et al. v. Triad National Security, LLC. d/b/a Los Alamos National Laboratory, et alhere.

SOURCE Thomas More Society press release.