Judge orders 178 hospital staff who refused vaccine to be vaccinated – –

Judge orders 178 hospital staff who refused vaccine to be vaccinated – –

All staff at Methodist health facilities in Houston have been ordered to be vaccinated (Photo: AP)

A judge sided with hospital directors who suspended 178 staff who refused to be vaccinated – meaning they risk being sacked next Monday if they still haven’t received their vaccine.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes has dismissed a joint lawsuit filed by 117 suspended employees of the Houston Methodist Hospital system, who sued their employer for demanding that all staff be fully immunized or at risk of being dismissed.

The company, which operates nearly 300 healthcare sites in the Texas capital, initially gave its 25,000 employees a June 7 deadline to be fully immunized. While 24,947 employees accepted the mandate, 178 staff refused and were subsequently suspended without pay.

In a scathing ruling on Saturday, District Judge Hughes overturned claims by one of the staff and main plaintiff in the lawsuit, Jennifer Bridges, that the vaccines are “experimental and dangerous” to be false and otherwise irrelevant.

People rally to protest the Houston Methodist Hospital’s system rule to fire any employee who is not immune by Monday, June 21 (Photo: AP)

He also found his comparison of the vaccination requirement with the Nazis’ forced medical experiments on Holocaust captives as “reprehensible.”

Hughes also ruled that making vaccination a condition of employment was not coercion, as Bridges argued in the court record.

“Methodist is trying to do its job of saving lives without giving them the Covid-19 virus,” Hughes wrote in a five-page decision.

He added: “This is a choice made to ensure the safety of staff, patients and their families.

“Bridges can freely choose to accept or refuse a Covid-19 vaccine; however, if she refuses, she will simply have to work elsewhere.

“If a worker refuses an assignment, a change of office, an earlier start time or other directive, they can be properly terminated.

“Every job includes limits on the behavior of the worker in exchange for pay. It’s all part of the deal.

The judge added that Texas law only protects employees from dismissal for refusing to do an illegal act.

Staff are angry with the way they are being treated (Credits: AP)

Jared Woodfill, a Houston attorney representing Bridges and the other employees, said the employees plan to appeal the court ruling.

“All of my clients continue to pledge to fight this unfair policy,” Woodfill said in a statement.

The treatment of the 178 unvaccinated people comes as 285 employees have received a medical or religious exemption from being vaccinated by the company, while 332 other employees have been postponed for pregnancy or other reasons, according to the report. CEO of the company, Marc Boom.

The policy resulted in protests outside one of the healthcare provider’s hospitals in Houston. At last Monday’s protest, people were holding signs saying things like “Vaxx is Venom” and “Don’t lose sight of our rights”.

Some employees have said that the vaccination warrant violates their rights.

Woodfill added, “What’s shocking is that many of my clients were on the front lines treating Covid-positive patients at Texas Methodist Hospital during the height of the pandemic. As a result, many of them contracted the Covid.

People march past the Houston Baytown Methodist Hospital to protest the hospital system's rule to fire any employee who is not immune by Monday, June 7, 2021, in Baytown, Texas.  Houston Methodist staff who have refused the COVID-19 vaccine so far and their supporters participated in a rally and march.  (Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle via AP)
Protesters marched through Houston Baytown Methodist Hospital to show their objection to the vaccination warrant (Photo: AP)

“As a thank you for their service and sacrifice, the Methodist Hospital gives them a pink note and condemns them to bankruptcy. “

Speaking to the Texan, Jennifer Bridges argued that “no one should be forced to put something in their body if they are not comfortable”.

She said: “People who try to force you to put something in your body that you are not comfortable with, in order to keep your job, are just foolish.

“I am not an anti-vax person. If you want to get it, by all means get it.

“I’m not taking that away from anyone, just give everyone the choice and the right to make their own decision. “

The 178 unvaccinated staff members have until June 21 to comply with the company’s vaccination request or face layoffs.

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