Judge Throws Out Lawsuit Over Houston Medical’s Mandated COVID Vaccinations for Employees
The judge found a claim made by the lead plaintiff that likened the vaccine to the Nazis’ forced medical experiments on World War II Holocaust victims to be “reprehensible.”
UPDATE JUNE 14, 2021: Houston Methodist employees who sued the hospital for requiring them to receive COVID-19 vaccinations had their lawsuit thrown out by a federal judge on Saturday.
U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes said the claim that the vaccines are “experimental and dangerous” are false and irrelevant, reports the Associated Press. The judge also found another claim made by the lead plaintiff that likened the vaccine to the Nazis’ forced medical experiments on World War II Holocaust victims to be “reprehensible.”
Additionally, AP reports Hughes did not find mandated vaccinations to be coercion.
The plaintiffs said they would appeal the ruling.
UPDATE JUNE 9, 2021:
In response to Houston Methodist’s mandate that all of their employees receive the COVID-19 vaccine, 178 staff members have been suspended by the healthcare facility for refusing to comply. They could be terminated.
The deadline for employees to be vaccinated was Monday, reports the Houston Press, and some employees walked out in protest of the mandate. They were joined by anti-vaccine well-wisher from the community.
Although 178 of Houston Methodist’s employees have been suspended, that number represents less than 1% of the healthcare facility’s workforce of nearly 25,000 employee, Houston Methodist CEO Dr. Marc Boom told USA Today.
“We are nearly 100% compliant with our COVID-19 vaccine mandate,” Boom said in an email to employees on Tuesday. “Houston Methodist is officially the first hospital system in the country to achieve this goal for the benefit of its patients.”
Axios reports that 285 other employees received a medical or religious exemption, while another 332 were granted deferrals for pregnancy or other reasons.
ORIGINAL JUNE 3, 2021 ARTICLE:
While only 9% of more than 700 employers surveyed earlier this year by law firm Fisher Phillips said they would require employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said on May 28 that employers have the right to mandate it, as long as they comply with the reasonable accommodation provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act and other laws.
Accommodations may include allowing an unvaccinated employee to wear a mask and social distance while at work, to work a modified shift, get periodic tests for COVID-19 or be given the opportunity to telework, reports Reuters.
More than 117 employees at Houston Methodist hospital, however, believe such a mandate violates the Nuremberg Code, a medical ethics code that prohibits forced medical experiments and requires voluntary consent. The hospital employees have consequently filed a lawsuit, stating that the vaccines are awaiting full FDA approval and licensing, which could take months, reports ABC News.
Both the hospital and the EEOC mandate say employees can be suspended and terminated from their jobs if they refuse the vaccine. Further, the EEOC mandate states that employers may offer incentives, as long as they are not coercive.
In the filing of joint lawsuit, the 117 hospital employees allege the hospital is “illegally requiring its employees to be injected with an experimental vaccine as a condition of employment.”
Hospital CEO Dr. Marc Boom sent a litter in April to all employees announcing that all employees needed to be vaccinated by June 7.
“Please see the HR policy that outlines the consequences of not being compliant by June 7, which include suspension and eventually termination,” the letter stated.
Attorney Jared Woodfill, who filed the lawsuit, countered by saying that Houston Methodist is requiring vaccines for profit, and that “employees are being forced to serve as human guinea pigs.” He added, “It is a severe and blatant violation of the Nuremberg Code and the public policy in the state of Texas.”