Federal Judge Dismissed Houston Hospital Employees’ Lawsuit over Vaccine Mandate

Many U.S. employers have put in place a policy that calls for their workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, which includes a number of big healthcare systems and hospitals. These policies are consistent with the guidance released by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission last month, which affirmed that U.S. companies are within their rights to demand their personnel to get vaccinated, with a number of exceptions for example on medical or religious grounds.

Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas presented its vaccine prerequisite to make sure patients were secured against COVID-19 and set a June 7, 2021 deadline for workers to get an immunization. Although most employees at Houston Methodist Hospital have agreed to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, On June 7, a small minority of workers staged a walkout because of the vaccine demands. On June 8, the hospital made the decision to suspend 178 employees without pay due to their refusal to be vaccinated.

A lawsuit was filed by 117 of those employees, with lead plaintiff, Jennifer Bridges, saying that if she is terminated for not getting the vaccine it would be construed as wrongful firing. Bridges state that the vaccines, which were given by the Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorizations, are experimental and risky. All three of the vaccines covered by the emergency use declarations have gone through clinical tests and a post-market study and were found to be safe.

On June 12, U.S. District Judge Lynn N. Hughes in the Southern District of Texas released a ruling that approved the hospital’s vaccination prerequisite. Judge Hughes mentioned the decision to mandate workers to get COVID-19 vaccination was in line with the hospital’s public policy and turned down the plaintiffs’ claims that the vaccines were experimental and dangerous.

The hospital’s workers are not partaking in a human trial, stated Judge Hughes in his judgment. Methodist is attempting to do their business of saving lives without giving [patients] the Covid-19 virus. It is a choice made to keep employees, patients and their households safer.

The judge mentioned in the ruling that under Texas legislation, companies are within their rights to necessitate workers to be immunized. There are rules to keep safe workers against wrongful dismissal from work, however, in instances such as this, staff members would only be guarded against termination for refusing to perform an act that carries criminal penalties.

The employees and physicians made their decisions for the sake of patients, who are constantly at the heart of everything they do. Houston Methodist Hospital Chief Executive, Dr. Marc Bloom stated that all hospital employees have already met the mandates of the vaccine policy.

The hospital stated that 24,947 personnel had been completely vaccinated, 285 staff were not vaccinated due to clinical or religious exemptions, and 332 employees were issued deferrals for pregnancy or other reasons.

As soon as the suspension period concludes on June 21, 2021, termination processes will be applied for all workers who still were not immunized. The lawyers representing the plaintiffs plan to appeal the judgment.