MURRIETA, Calif. -- Thursday evening, June 30, 2022, Federal Judge Beth Labson Freeman of the Northern District of California enjoined Santa Clara County's vaccine policy – a first in California.

The county's COVID-19 vaccine policy gave accommodations to employees with medical exemptions in the form of transfers and reassignments while placing employees who sought religious exemptions on unpaid leave.

Judge Freeman wrote:

The County admits that in assisting exempt employees in high-risk roles with transfers to available County positions in other risk tiers, the County gives "those with disability or medical contraindication vaccine exemptions . . . 'preferential consideration' pursuant to California State Disability Regulations and the Americans with Disabilities Act." Marquez Decl. ¶ 41. The Court finds that this portion of the Accommodations framework likely "operate[s] in practice" in way that "target[s] religious practices" by placing those with religious exemptions at a disadvantage behind those with secular exemptions (medical and disability). Stormans, 794 F.3d at 1076 (quoting Lukumi, 508 U.S. at 535–37). Thus, Plaintiffs have shown that they are likely to succeed in proving that this portion of the Accommodations framework is not operationally neutral.

"Santa Clara County's trend of acting discriminatory towards people of faith in relation to COVID-19 received another rebuke from a federal court," says Robert Tyler, President of Advocates for Faith & Freedom. "Discrimination against Christians and other people of faith will not be tolerated."

"We will not stop fighting for the courageous employees of Santa Clara County until they have been fully repaid their lost wages and benefits, which were stripped away because of their religious beliefs" says Mariah Gondeiro, an attorney for Advocates for Faith & Freedom.

Read this press prelease on Advocates for Faith & Freedom website.


Advocates for Faith & Freedom ( for Faith & Freedom is a non-profit law firm dedicated to protecting constitutional and religious liberty in the courts.

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