A federal court dismissed a complaint filed by workers of a Houston hospital system over the hospital administration’s mandate that all workers be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Covid-19 Vaccination Laws For Workers Of The Hospital
Last Monday, the Houston Methodist Hospital system suspended 178 workers without pay for refusing to be vaccinated. One hundred seventeen of them sued, attempting to invalidate the requirement as well as their suspension and potential firing.
U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes of Houston ruled Saturday that lead plaintiff Jennifer Bridges’ claim that the immunizations are experimental and risky is incorrect and otherwise irrelevant. He also thought her comparison of the vaccine obligation to the Nazis’ forced medical experiments on concentration camp detainees during the Holocaust was reprehensible.
Texas law only protects workers from being fired for refusing to do an act that might result in criminal punishment for the employee, he wrote. Receiving a COVID-19 immunization is not unlawful conduct, and it is not punishable by law.
Hughes slammed the press-release manner of the complaint as well as the comparison of the hospital’s immunization program to Nazi forced experiments on Jewish people during the Holocaust.
It is terrible to compare the injection necessity to medical experimentation in extermination camps, he wrote. Nazi physicians subjected victims to medical experiments that resulted in anguish, mutilation, lifelong handicap, and, in many cases, death.
Hughes also concluded that requiring immunizations as a condition of employment did not constitute coercion, as Bridges claimed.
Bridges has the right to accept or refuse a COVID-19 vaccination; but, if she rejects, she will simply have to find another job. If a worker declines an assignment, changes offices, has an earlier start time, or violates another order, he or she may be dismissed lawfully. Every job imposes restrictions on the worker’s conduct in exchange for monetary compensation. It’s all part of the deal, as Hughes said.
Bridges and the other clients’ lawyer in Houston, Jared Woodfill, pledged an appeal.
All of his clients are dedicated to combating this unfair policy, Woodfill said in a statement. What is astonishing is that several of his clients were on the front lines at Texas Methodist Hospital during the peak of the pandemic, treating COVID-positive patients. As a result, several of them became infected with COVID-19. Methodist Hospital gives them a pink slip and declares bankruptcy as a thank you for their devotion and sacrifice.
Employees have until June 7 to finish their immunizations.
The hospital system’s CEO, Marc Boom, said in a message on Tuesday that 24,947 staff had met the vaccination criteria, and that 27 of the 178 others had gotten the first of a two-dose vaccine and would not be dismissed if they received the second. The remainders are liable to be terminated.
He further stated that 285 additional employees were granted medical or religious exemptions, while 332 were postponed due to pregnancy or another reason.
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The judge further chastised the plaintiffs for linking the vaccination obligation to Nazi forced experiments on Jews during the Holocaust. It is terrible to compare the injection necessity to medical experimentation in extermination camps, Hughes added. Nazi physicians subjected victims to medical experiments that resulted in anguish, mutilation, permanent handicap, and, in many cases, death.
Houston Methodist was one of the first hospitals in the U.S. to compel workers to get immunized against the coronavirus, and the judge’s ruling was an early test of how similar prohibitions may fare in court.
According to NPR, the decision could establish a precedent for similar COVID-19 vaccination claims across the country. Houston Methodist was one of the first hospitals to demand vaccinations of its employees. Following the decision on Saturday, the hospital system issued a statement saying it was pleased and comforted that Hughes rejected a frivolous complaint.
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