FILE – In this file photo from June 7, 2021, a person holds a sign protesting against the Houston Methodist Hospital in Baytown, Texas, a policy that states that hospital employees must be vaccinated against the COVID-19 or lose their jobs. More than 150 employees of the Houston Methodist System, who refused to be vaccinated against COVID-19, were fired or resigned after a judge dismissed a lawsuit against the employees over the vaccine requirement, Houston Methodist System spokesman Gale Smith said on Tuesday, June 22, 2021. (Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle via AP, FILE)
More than 150 employees at a Houston hospital system who refused to be vaccinated against COVID-19 were fired or resigned after a judge dismissed a lawsuit against employees over the requirement for a vaccine.
A spokesperson for the Houston Methodist Hospital System said 153 employees resigned during the two-week suspension period or were laid off on Tuesday.
Earlier this month, a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit filed by 117 employees over the requirement.
The case over how far healthcare facilities can go to protect patients and others from the coronavirus has been closely watched. It’s believed to be the first of its kind in the United States, but that won’t be the end of the debate.
In the June 12 decision, US District Judge Lynn Hughes of Houston ruled that the claim by main complainant Jennifer Bridges that vaccines are “experimental and dangerous” was false and otherwise irrelevant. He also found that she compared the vaccination requirement to the Nazis’ forced medical experimentation on concentration camp captives during the Holocaust as “reprehensible”.
The judge said that if the hospital system workers didn’t like the requirement, they could go and work elsewhere.
Hospital workers who filed the complaint have already appealed the judge’s dismissal to the U.S. 5th Court of Appeals.
The hospital system had demanded that employees complete their vaccinations by June 7. After that, 178 employees were suspended for two weeks without pay for not complying.