Religious exemption or not, Washington state coach loses job

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SALT LAKE CITY – It’s cougars versus cougars on Saturday afternoon in Pullman, Washington. But the cats in Washington state just lost their head football coach. Claiming a religious exemption did not protect his job, says a Utah defense attorney.

Coach Rolovich’s story

Second-year coach Nick Rolovich, 42, was fired Monday for refusing to comply with the state vaccination mandate signed by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. The mandate demanded that all state employees – including those at its public universities – be vaccinated against COVID-19.

John Canzano of the Oregonian reported that Rolovich was fired for cause. This means that Washington State University does not owe a redemption fee for the decision.

Related: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Will Not Provide Vaccine Exemptions

Washington State defensive coordinator Jake Dickert will serve as interim head coach, according to Sean Walker’s reports on KSL.com. He was the highest paid government employee with around $ 3 million a year in a contract that runs until 2025.

And he’s also the only unvaccinated Pac-12 trainer.

Rolovich revealed in July that he would not get the vaccine. He was unable to attend the Pac-12 media day in person because of this, according to ESPN.

Rolovich had asked for a religious exemption from the vaccination mandate, according to USA TODAY. His request was denied.

Hold onto your beliefs while looking for a new job

Utah defense attorney Greg Skordas joined Debbie Dujanovic and Dave Noriega of KSL NewsRadio to discuss religious exemptions and state mandates.

Debbie said if she gave up on a five-year, $ 3 million-a-year contract, her family would never speak to her again.

Related: Senator Lee Is Working On Biden Vaccine Mandate Exemptions

“They would drag me, kicking and screaming, to the vaccination clinic down the street,” she said.

“But I think there’s a chance your family will respect you because you stand up for what you believe in,” Dave said.

“I like your optimism,” she said.

Debbie asked if Skordas would ever turn down $ 15 million for your beliefs.

“No one will ever offer me $ 15 million for anything,” he said.

Then he added that a person can be appreciated for standing by their religious beliefs. But he said the state’s position is that, yes, someone can hold onto their religious beliefs all day long. But they may no longer be able to do their job.

“This is sort of where the law lands. That’s where we end up here when we talk about these immunization mandates and a condition of continued employment, ”Skordas said.

Can you be fired for clinging to a religious belief?

“Are you not protected if you have a religious belief?” You cannot be fired for this religious belief, ”said Dave.

An employee cannot be fired for their religious beliefs. But Skordas said to protect student-athletes and staff, it’s not unreasonable for the employer – in this case Washington State – to require that everyone who works near others be vaccinated against a deadly virus. Skordas said if an employee disagrees, they are free to find work elsewhere.

Related: Constitution Specialists, Utah Lawmakers Push Back Mandate For Vaccines

“This is where the rubber hits the road,” Skordas said.

If you’re a student-athlete whose religious belief forbids participating in public sporting activities on Sundays and you hope to play for a team that plays on Sundays, you probably won’t be a good candidate for that team, Skordas said.

“But go live your religion and be proud of it,” Skordas said.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard on weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.


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