Oct 31, 2015

The Church of FDA

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is evil. I know, right? We all know it. Donald Trump and Jim Carrey say so:

The agency just updated one of their policies, and they'll have a new enemy if the media hear about it – and it doesn’t even have anything to do with sinister chemicals like thimerosal. It’s about religion. 

Cue ChristianPersecution(TM) chorus in 4, 3, 2, 1… oh, wait! Natural News was already on it. New chemical entities: holy water and rosaries.

(Update: a quick electronic search of holy and rosar in the current guidance on complementary and alternative medicine returned zero hits. False alarm; no Big Pharma tyranny here.)

But just to be safe, and scientifically literate, because that’s what the FDA tries to take away from the sheeple actually does, let’s discuss those sinister, hazardous chemicals for a moment.

Here’s another hidden treasure for the media: in their January 16, 2015 food demand survey (, Oklahoma State University added a few ad hoc questions, and it appears that we need some anti-nucleic acid groups to join the anti-vaxxers.

Ban transcription! Down with Watson and Crick! Pro-peripheric acid!
We love science illiteracy.

Back to the post topic – I’m an atheist, but I’ll be the first to offer FDA a hearty, sincere Amen for this policy.

In accordance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, “employers with 15 or more employees must make reasonable accommodations for employees’ religious observances.”

Personal Anecdote
I’ve had four employers in 20 years (aerospace and pharmaceutical private industry), and all four included Good Friday, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day as paid holidays.

Zero out of those four employers included any non-Christian holidays as paid holidays. The best-case scenario was that employees could use their own vacation time if they wished to take a non-Christian holiday.

Look What the FDA Did
The FDA just revised their Manual of Policy and Procedures 4657.11, Religious Compensatory Time. TL;DR (emphasis and any errors are mine):
  • Religious compensatory time (RCT) is permitted for all Center for Drug Evaluation and Research Employees regardless of exempt/non-exempt status or grade.
  • Supervisory approval is necessary, and reasonable accommodations will be made to allow RCT as long as agency mission is not adversely affected (for example, but not limited to, high priority work, employee safety, more than nominal increase in business hours).
  • Employees must accumulate or repay the RCT used by working beyond their scheduled tours for the same number of RCT hours used.
  • Each religious observance is a separate request.
  • RCT is not intended to give employees additional holidays or annual leave, but only to follow their personal religious beliefs.
  • Employees may not “bank” RCT hours, and must use the hours for the intended/designated religious observance/event. If the employee is unable to use the RCT hours for that event, the employee must submit a revised statement of intent with new dates of use.
  • Employees may not earn regular compensatory time or be compensated for overtime until any outstanding RCT balance is repaid.
  • Unpaid RCT will be withheld from the employee’s final settlement at time of employment termination.

FDA Definition:
Personal Religious Belief: This term should be interpreted broadly. The religious belief does not have to be associated with an established religion or be a recognized requirement of an established religion.

Religious persecution, folks. Shall we start an intellectual cytokine storm? 
Call Faux News! 

Or there’s always this option:

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