According to The Epoch Times, which spoke to several employees -- many on condition of anonymity because they don't want to lose out on benefits before being let go -- not only are workers being fired but they are being interrogated, Gestapo-like, before being let go.
“I really thought I’d be OK,” Kim Durham, a former payment analyst and sourcing buyer, told the outlet. “I thought, you cannot question my faith. Nobody can question that.”
She applied for a religious exemption from the vaccine and said that she believed the company would grant it.
“I thought this was behind me until September, when I met with an HR representative. It was an interrogation on your religious beliefs. They twisted your words and tried to put words in your mouth. It was terrible," she said, adding: “I was asked such personal questions that had nothing to do with religion.”
In November, she said, her religious exemption was denied, which shocked her.
The Epoch Times provided additional details about the interrogations:
The Epoch Times interviewed two other Hershey employees who are in their final days with the company and didn’t want their names used until they are fully separated, for fear of losing certain benefits.
All who were interviewed mentioned being troubled by similar questions during the meetings, usually held with an immediate supervisor and someone from HR, such as: Have you ever been vaccinated? Are your children vaccinated? How do you protect yourself when you leave your home? How often do you go to church? Do you take Tylenol, ibuprofen, Tums, or Midol? If so, how can you say that you’re truly a religious person, because a lot of those medicines also have the same ingredients as the vaccine?
Several other people said they were told that Pope Francis was vaccinated as well and that he claimed vaccination is one of the greatest gifts anyone can give to their communities.
A new parent who said they submitted paperwork and the newborn's birth certificate to set up insurance coverage was asked why the baby got vaccinated by the parent would not get a COVID-19 jab.
“What does that have to do with me keeping a job? From the time we started this ordeal, we have had seven meetings about my vaccination status,” the employee said. “It was like harassment. I felt like I wanted to crawl under a rock when I was done.”
Hershey required all employees to get a COVID vaccine (but not a flu vaccine) by Oct. 4; when Durham did not, she wasn't allowed back in the building on Oct. 5. On her last day in November, the company sent an empty box to her home so she could pack up all of the company's equipment and property to send back to the main office.
“We are losing our jobs over this vaccine policy,” Durham said. “It’s just wrong that a company can terminate you, and you lose your livelihood. This should not be forced.”
She and other employees estimate that around 1,400 Hershey workers applied for a religious exemption to the vaccine but it's not known if any of them received one.
“I know people who got the vaccine just to keep their job. It wasn’t something they wanted to do, but they needed the job,” Durham said. “I need a job too. But I’m not going to do something I don’t feel comfortable doing, just keeping my job.”