Featured Image

UPTON, New York (LifeSiteNews) — An engineer with a Department of Energy-funded national research laboratory has resigned from his position after his employer imposed a discriminatory COVID-19 policy requiring employees to wear color-coded badges indicating their vaccination status. 

“As of today, I’m a former employee of Brookhaven National Laboratory,” John Rothermel told LifeSite in a phone interview Monday.  

“I never was the most political person in the world, but this has just driven me to be an activist,” he said. “I have never in my life thought I would be calling the media, or standing in a picket line, or doing any of these things, or quit my job over a political issue, but here I am. I had a job lined up, they approved my exemption, and I walked into my boss’s office and handed over my resignation letter saying, ‘Too bad. Goodbye.’” 

Rothermel had worked as an electrical design engineer for Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) — a federal contractor which receives its primary funding from the Department of Energy’s Office of Science — for three years before turning in his resignation last week. 

“My last day was on Friday,” he said. “I resigned over the vaccine mandate and how they handled it.” 

Rothermel, who graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute with a degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering, explained that BNL rolled out its vaccine mandate following the Biden administration’s mandate for federal employees in September but “went over and above and started requiring employees to wear badges to identify them.”  

Rothermel told LifeSite the company started by handing out blue badges to employees who had gotten the experimental COVID-19 shots. 

He said wearing the badge at work was initially voluntary but soon became mandatory. 

Suggesting the policy was intended to “make people feel more comfortable,” he said it enabled employees to “police each other.” He argued it “really was a horrible idea.” 

After requiring the blue badges for vaccinated workers, Rothermel said the lab “quietly rolled out a requirement” compelling unvaccinated employees to wear bright orange badges to indicate they had not gotten the shot. 

Rothermel, a pro-life nondenominational Christian, has refused to get the experimental COVID-19 shots because they were developed using the cells of aborted babies.  

With the help of his pastor, he applied for a religious exemption to the jab mandate.  

Rothermel said despite his efforts to get an earlier decision, he was forced to wait six weeks to learn whether his request for a religious exemption had been granted, a date just two weeks before the employee injection deadline. 

Rothermel called the timeline “completely coercive,” asserting that “it was just meant to apply the maximum amount of pressure on you.”  

“It was literally only two weeks to figure your life out,” he said. 

The former BNL employee said those who didn’t get the jab and whose exemption request was denied would be “assumed” to have resigned, leaving them without the ability to collect unemployment or severance. 

Rothermel also said the final decision to grant a religious accommodation was left up to direct managers even if approved by the human resources department, a system he suggested was “rife for discrimination.” Further, he said religious exemptions are set to be reviewed regularly, so an employee granted an exemption could end up having it revoked at a later date. 

Rothermel told LifeSite his company finally notified him on November 4 that his request for a religious exemption had been approved, and that he would therefore be required to submit to weekly testing.

On November 10, after he got his first COVID-19 test, Rothermel said he was given an orange card showing the date of his COVID test and was assured he would not be required to wear it. 

The following Wednesday, November 17, he was given a new orange card in a plastic sleeve that could be attached to his lanyard. 

Rothermel said he was told, “You’ve got to wear these now.” 

LifeSite has confirmed Rothermel’s statements via email messages obtained from BNL Chief Human Resources Officer Robert Lincoln, who told Rothermel the orange badges must be worn by unvaccinated employees.

Despite Lincoln’s confirmation, Rothermel told LifeSite a former coworker asked upper management about the badge policy and was told it was “never approved by management.”

“They seem to be getting wind of the backlash that is brewing,” Rothermel remarked.

LifeSite reached out to Brookhaven National Laboratory for comment but has yet to hear back.

Rothermel said he had been concerned about the company’s decisions regarding COVID-19 vaccination since the federal jab mandate was rolled out in September, but the color-coded vaccine status badges were the final straw. 

He turned in his resignation last week and worked his final day on Friday. 

Rothermel said that since he chose to resign he’s not afraid to speak out about the company’s policy, but that many are afraid to lose their jobs.  

— Article continues below Petition —
PETITION: Ban Critical Race Theory in public schools
  Show Petition Text
9814 have signed the petition.
Let's get to 10000!
Thank you for signing this petition!
Add your signature:
  Show Petition Text
Keep me updated via email on this petition and related issues.
Keep me updated via email on this petition and related issues.

The dangerous ideas of Critical Race Theory (CRT) are being forced on students in public schools around the country.

This is wrong and parents have had enough! It's time to join them in saying "STOP!" to this harmful and racist propaganda.

Please SIGN and SHARE this urgent petition which says "No to CRT" in public schools, and "Yes to parents' right" to strongly protest CRT.

But, what is CRT anyway and why is it so dangerous?

Critical Race Theory is a hateful system of indoctrination which teaches that one race is either superior or inferior to another race, and that the United States is inherently racist.

CRT is dangerous and hateful precisely because it teaches children who are not white to despise and envy white children simply because of their skin color. And, as a result, it also teaches white children to despise themselves simply because of the color of their skin.

CRT also erroneously teaches that American society is inherently racist, and that different, detrimental policies (like reparations for slavery and race-based pay scales) should be imposed on the population to redistribute wealth from whites to non-whites.

This type of racist/marxist propaganda should have NO place in public, taxpayer-funded schools!

And, thankfully, American parents of EVERY COLOR are raising their voices and ballots against it!

Indeed, parents understand the destructive ramifications of CRT and, despite outrageous threats from Biden's Justice Department to prosecute them, they have been strongly protesting CRT at school board meetings across the country!

And now, in the first test of its kind, a candidate who was campaigning hard against CRT just won the governorship of Virginia in a huge upset victory.

That's great news, but we now need to contact every state legislature about this crucial educational issue.

And, we need to DEMAND that they BAN Critical Race Theory from every public school in their states - both primary and high schools, and colleges!

Whereas advocates of CRT seem more intent on vengence than on teaching children of every race to respect everybody, regardless of skin color, American parents of every race understand that it is not the color of one's skin that matters, but the content of one's character (to paraphrase Martin Luther King, Jr.).

Please SIGN and SHARE this urgent petition asking all state legislatures to BAN Crititical Race Theory from public schools in their respective states.

Thank you!


'States are fighting the Left over the morally bankrupt critical race theory' -

'Parents who oppose Critical Race Theory in schools could be prosecuted by FBI' -

Ohio parents testify: Yes, critical race theory is in our schools, and we say NO! -

An excellent Heritage Foundation document on CRT: Critical Race Theory Would Not Solve Racial Inequality: It Would Deepen It

**Photo Credit: EJ Nickerson /

  Hide Petition Text

“But everyone else is saying, ‘I’m walking around with the star of David on my shirt, you know, this is like identifying me as a religious dissident,’ but they’re afraid to say anything because they’re afraid they’re going to get fired,” he said. “I’ve been trying to do my best to help out others who aren’t in the same situation to draw attention to these things that other people are afraid to.”

The sole breadwinner in his household, supporting a wife and two young children, Rothermel told LifeSite he was lucky to find another position before turning in his notice of resignation at BNL. 

Rothermel said his new job is with a private company out-of-state, which is not subject to the federal employee jab mandate.  

“I’m lucky that I’m able to be brave because I have a lifeboat here that I can support my family. But there are a lot of people that aren’t nearly as lucky and are just as mad as me and upset and hurt,” he said. 

Directing his comments toward government employees and federal contractors contending with jab mandates, Rothermel said “there are better employers” and urged others who have objections to the shots to “really think carefully about whether you want to remain under the thumb of the government.” 

“It doesn’t matter who is at the head, it could be somebody you agree with or somebody you don’t, but every few years, it could be somebody else who, with the swipe of a pen, could change your livelihood,” he warned. 

Rothermel said he’s confident that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandate requiring all private businesses with 100 or more employees to mandate the shots will ultimately be struck down and won’t affect his new position with a private employer. The mandate has been stayed by a federal court and suspended by OSHA pending a permanent ruling.

“Even if it’s not, I know the process for [a] religious exemption, and I know that they’re not going to toy with me the way the federal contractor did,” he said.


Commenting Guidelines
LifeSiteNews welcomes thoughtful, respectful comments that add useful information or insights. Demeaning, hostile or propagandistic comments, and streams not related to the storyline, will be removed.

LSN commenting is not for frequent personal blogging, on-going debates or theological or other disputes between commenters.

Multiple comments from one person under a story are discouraged (suggested maximum of three). Capitalized sentences or comments will be removed (Internet shouting).

LifeSiteNews gives priority to pro-life, pro-family commenters and reserves the right to edit or remove comments.

Comments under LifeSiteNews stories do not necessarily represent the views of LifeSiteNews.