Insisting that the enforcement of Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate by their private employer is entirely an act of the government, four senior-level security contractors at the Savannah River Nuclear Facility (SRS) have filed a federal lawsuit against Centerra Group, LLC. The employees confirm they are Christians with sincerely held religious opposition to abortion. They stand firm in their belief that being forced to take the COVID-19 experimental vaccines derived from fetal tissue matter is a violation of their rights to religious liberty. 

The complaint, filed on Nov. 9, 2021, explains that Plaintiffs “are religious men who adhere to the teachings of the Bible and are morally bound to follow the universal, consistent moral teaching of their faith.” The Plaintiffs’ maintain their “dignity, personal identity, and autonomy in the exercise of their sincerely held religious beliefs” prevented them from receiving any of the experimental COVID-19 “vaccines” currently available in the ongoing clinical trials, mandated by the Biden administration under Executive Order 14042. Plaintiff attorney Lauren Martel explained:

“As Christians, we do not support the right to abortion—but if the Courts say that a woman cannot be forced to use her body to protect the life of an unborn child, we believe the same principle prohibits the government from forcing a person to use his body to protect others from COVID.” 

The lawsuit requests a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction barring the enforcement of EO 14042. Martel describes the case as “crucially important to protect the individual rights of all Americans, regardless of their political or religious beliefs. If the government can force you to inject a foreign substance into your body against your will, what can’t that government do? This is one of our last stands against an unlimited government that does not recognize the rights and dignity of the individual.” Furthermore, the suit maintains Centerra’s private enforcement of the mandate on government employees is against the law. Noting that EO 14042 is unconstitutional as applied to these Plaintiffs—who are non-federal employees—Martel asserts:

“The constitution does not allow the government to deputize and order private individuals to commit constitutional violations that the government would not be allowed to commit if it acted directly.”

Besides the sincerely held religious beliefs prohibiting the receipt of the jab, Plaintiff Shawn Williams—a 20-year Bravo shift Sniper with Q clearance—was explicitly advised against getting the vaccine by two doctors given his important medical history (which, combined with the COVID-19 vaccine, could cause his death) and recent recovery from the virus. Williams, who has natural immunity (via verifiable antibodies) after recovering from COVID-19, submitted a medical exemption request to Centerra along with instructions from both physicians on Sept. 27, 2021. Just like all Plaintiffs’ religious exemptions, Centerra denied Williams’ medical request without any explanation. Williams, who must pass rigorous physical fitness testing in order to guard our nation’s Special Nuclear Material, asserts:

“The threshold of “undue hardship” with regard to religious exemptions is now replaced in practice with mere inconvenience on the part of the employer. Significant medical conditions that could result in great bodily harm, or death, if triggered in concert with the COVID-19 vaccine are being dismissed out of hand.”

The complaint insists that under Biden’s Vaccine Mandate, Centerra satisfies the criteria under which a private party can “fairly be said to be a state actor.” Therefore, the Plaintiffs maintain they will suffer irreparable harm and injury and are likely to succeed on the merits. The Plaintiffs complaint explains in-depth seven counts:

  • Count One – Free Exercise of Religious Violation (First Amendment; 42 U.S.C. § 1983)
  • Count Two – Violation of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment and Violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb ET SEQ, and in Violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 2000e ET SEQ.
  • Count Three – Violation of Plaintiffs’ Rights to Privacy and Bodily Integrity Under the 14th Amendment
  • Count Four – Violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. 12101 ET SEQ.
  • Count Five – South Carolina Constitutional Violations
  • Count Six – Violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 AND 42 U.S.C. § 1988
  • Count Seven – Executive Order Exceeds Authority by Admission

Noting Joe Biden’s new Federal Employee vaccination deadline of Jan. 4, 2022, on Nov. 15, U.S. District Judge J. Michelle Childs, appointed by Barack Obama in 2009, announced the court would hold a hearing on Plaintiffs’ complaint on Dec. 7. 2021. At the same time, Judge Childs gave Defendants (who have filed a motion to dismiss the case) until Nov. 30 to submit any responsive briefing. 

Defendant’s response to Judge Childs, submitted Nov. 30, argues Plaintiffs cannot demonstrate any of the requirements necessary for the court to grant a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. Indeed, in referencing its high-level employees, Centerra asserts, no one is forcing the Plaintiffs to do anything, much less to “inject foreign substances into their body against their will.” The company maintains Plaintiffs are “free to refuse to take the vaccine, and they have indicated to Centerra that they do not intend to take the vaccine.” Describing the Plaintiffs’ consequences of not receiving the experimental “vaccine,” Centerra states:

“That Plaintiffs may lose access to Site and, as a consequence, their jobs, is not an irreparable harm warranting injunction. As the high court reiterated in Sampson:

The key word in this consideration is irreparable. Mere injuries, however substantial, in terms of money, time and energy necessarily expended in the absence of a stay, are not enough. The possibility that adequate compensatory or other corrective relief will be available at a later date, in the ordinary course of litigation, weighs heavily against a claim of irreparable harm.”

At one time, SRS was responsible for manufacturing nuclear weapons material for the defense nuclear weapons program. Today, the Site focuses on the storage of Special Nuclear Material (SNM) formerly used by the U.S. government and its treaty partners, along with environmental remediation. Notably, the Site houses Category I quantities of SNM—the highest classification used by the Department of Energy (DOE). In addition, SRS produces Tritium for use in the defense nuclear weapons program. Centerra provides armed security at the Site’s entry points and a “protective force organized in paramilitary fashion” throughout the entire compound.

Martel suggests the Plaintiffs’ challenge to forced vaccination includes vital national security concerns, asserting:

“The Plaintiffs in this case perform elite security services at one of the nation’s nuclear waste facility sites. If the courts allow this coercion to stand and the Plaintiffs’ employment is terminated for not surrendering their bodies and religious beliefs, the nation’s nuclear and other military sites may wind up unprotected. These employees have elite military and physical training as well as high level security clearances, which are not easily replaceable.”

*This article has been updated to reflect that the above-mentioned motion hearing set for 12/7/2021 at 3:00 PM has been rescheduled for 12/13/2021 at 10:00 AM.