The Walt Disney Company punished and then fired three longtime employees because they refused the COVID-19 vaccine on religious grounds, according to a new lawsuit against the company.
On July 30, 2021, Disney announced that its employees would have to take one of the several COVID-19 vaccines to continue working with the company.
When Florida’s government forbade “vaccinate or terminate” policies, the company began a relentless push to vaccinate all employees, including those who had requested religious exemptions, the lawsuit states.
According to the plaintiffs, Disney burdened religious vaccine objectors with restrictions that went beyond its original pandemic policy.
“The mask, face shield, and distancing from cast and guest were clearly punitive measures designed to destroy my health, segregate me, harass, discriminate, and intimidate me into taking an experimental vaccine,” said Adam Pajer, one of the suing employees.
Pajer, Barbara Andreas, and Stephen Cribb were longtime Disney employees.
Pajer worked at Disney for seven years and had some leadership responsibilities.
Andreas had worked there for 21 years and in leadership for 17 years.
Cribb was at the company for 11 years and received the Walt Disney Legacy Award, its highest award for park employees.
All refused to take a COVID-19 vaccine, citing religious objections.
Pajer said he believed he had a religious obligation not to harm his body and that the vaccine was harmful; Andreas objected to covering her face and the contamination of her blood by vaccine ingredients for religious reasons; and Cribb objected because he believed the Jansen, Moderna, and Pfizer vaccines were made using cells from aborted babies.
But instead of accepting these exemption requests, Disney pushed back. All three found the company was slow to respond to their requests, leaving them wondering about the position of their jobs.
When Disney finally responded, the employees faced interrogative interviews.
“[A Disney employee] proposed hypothetical questions to Ms Andreas, such as whether she would consent to a vaccine that did not contain aborted fetal cells. Ms Andreas was very uncomfortable about such an inappropriate line of questioning regarding her sincere religious beliefs,” the lawsuit reads.