Bloomberg Law
March 14, 2023, 5:49 PM

J.M. Smucker’s Win Upheld in Religious Worker Covid Vaccine Suit

Patrick Dorrian
Patrick Dorrian

Four J.M. Smucker Co. employees who were denied religious exemptions from the company’s Covid-19 vaccine mandate lack claims under the First Amendment’s free-exercise clause, the Sixth Circuit said Tuesday.

The ruling by a unanimous three-judge panel reaffirms that private employers generally aren’t subject to suit when they allegedly violate a worker’s constitutional rights. “Constitutional guarantees conventionally apply only to entities that exercise sovereign power,” like federal, state, and local governments, the court said.

J.M Smucker isn’t a sovereign entity and it didn’t become one simply by imposing the federal government’s Covid vaccine mandate, the US Court of Appeals for the ...