Minneapolis Fed repeals religious exemption for longtime employee, threatens to fire him

"I am stunned that the Minneapolis Fed has disregarded my years of service and is trying to fire me based on my religious objections to the COVID-19 vaccine," he said.

The entrance to the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis/Facebook)

The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis (the Minneapolis Fed) has placed a twenty-four-year employee on unpaid leave and is threatening to fire him after suddenly reneging on his approved religious exemption from the COVID vaccine.

Officer Rodney Maki objects to the vaccine because of its connection to aborted fetal cells in testing or production. He had previously obtained a religious exemption, but for reasons that are unclear the Minneapolis Fed decided months later that his exemption was no longer valid.

Maki claims he has “made every effort” to work with the Fed, such as offering to take regular COVID tests and wearing a mask in the office, but the Fed has refused to budge on its insistence that he get vaccinated.

“I am stunned that the Minneapolis Fed has disregarded my years of service and is trying to fire me based on my religious objections to the COVID-19 vaccine,” he said. “This discrimination has to stop.”

Maki has been on unpaid leave since Jan. 7 and will be terminated if he does not comply with the vaccination requirement.

On Maki’s behalf, the Upper Midwest Law Center (UMLC) recently wrote a letter to the Minneapolis Fed threatening legal action if it does not reverse its decision to place him on unpaid leave and eventually fire him.

“If the Fed does not reverse its religious discrimination, our client has authorized us to file a charge with the EEOC and pursue legal action against the Fed for its discrimination,” the letter says.

“Officer Maki is a Christian and believes that receiving the COVID-19 vaccine would make him complicit in the abortion of the children who were killed to create the fetal cells lines used in the development and testing of the COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States,” the letter adds.

UMLC senior trial counsel James Dickey, the attorney who wrote the letter, expressed confidence in Maki’s vindication should he file a lawsuit against the Fed.

“The Minneapolis Fed acknowledged that Officer Maki had a sincere religious objection to the COVID-19 vaccine and provided him an accommodation based on that objection for months, with no problems,” he said. “The Fed then suddenly pulled the rug out from under him and threatened to fire him. This absurd policy change will not hold up in federal court.”

The Fed implemented its vaccine mandate last July, requiring all employees to be vaccinated by the end of August. Maki had thus been working without issue for roughly four months before his employer’s change of heart.

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Evan Stambaugh

Evan Stambaugh is a freelance writer who had previously been a sports blogger. He has a BA in theology and an MA in philosophy.