A lawsuit employees brought against a hospital over a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy was rejected by a federal judge who found “the public’s interest in having a hospital capable of caring for patients during a pandemic far outweighs the vaccination preferences of 116 employees.”
The policy provided employees with a deadline to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. If an employee failed to get the vaccine they would be suspended 14 days without pay and eventually fired. That led the 116 employees who refused to file a lawsuit.
Employees of Houston Methodist Hospital who filed the lawsuit had either already been fired or were in danger of being terminated, so they requested a temporary restraining order to block enforcement of the vaccination policy, which the judge denied, according to law firm Greenberg Traurig.
The federal judge for the Southern District of Texas found the employees’ claims of wrongful termination failed because the state’s wrongful termination law only protects employees from being terminated for refusing to commit acts that would result in criminal penalties for the worker.
Since the employees didn’t claim an illegal act was involved, their case failed.
Their coercion claims also failed, with the judge finding the employees “can freely choose to accept or refuse a COVID-19 vaccine; however if they refuse, they will simply need to work somewhere else.”