A US federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by 117 employees of a Texas hospital challenging the requirement to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Now they will have a week to prove that they have received at least the first dose of one of the available vaccines, or they will have to look for another job.
In the ruling last Saturday (12), Justice Lynn Hughes ruled that Houston Methodist Hospital standards, which require its employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, are legitimate and in line with current public health policies of the ‘State.
The magistrate also rejected the assertion of Jennifer Bridges, nurse and main plaintiff in the lawsuit against the hospital, that the vaccines are “experimental and dangerous”.
For the employee, losing her job for refusing to receive the vaccine would constitute unjustified dismissal, and the threat of dismissal would be comparable to the forced medical experiments that millions of Jews and other minorities were subjected to during the Holocaust.
“Hospital staff do not participate in a human test,” said the judge, for whom the Methodist is making a choice to ensure the safety of staff, patients and their families. “[A enfermeira] Bridges can freely choose to accept or refuse a Covid-19 vaccine; however, if she refuses, she will simply have to work elsewhere. “
According to Hughes’ decision, Texas law provides that hospital workers could only be protected from dismissal if their refusal was linked to an obligation to commit an illegal act – which is not the case with the vaccine against the coronavirus.
Bridges and other officials also based their argument on the fact that the vaccines had not received full approval from the FDA, the US drug regulatory agency. The authorization granted for vaccines from three different manufacturers was for emergency use, which does not mean that the doses are dangerous. According to the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the safety of vaccines has already been proven in clinical trials.
Last month, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the government agency responsible for enforcing laws that punish different types of discrimination in the workplace, released a directive that allows employers to require their employees to be vaccinated. against the coronavirus when they return to facial activities.
So far, however, few companies have decided to impose this requirement, so the Houston Methodist Hospital court ruling is one of the first in favor of mandatory vaccination. According to the New York Times, other major hospital groups have called on their employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
According to a Methodist statement, nearly 25,000 employees met the requirements and were vaccinated until last Monday (7), the deadline for proof of receipt of at least one dose. The next day, 178 were suspended for failure to meet the requirement.
“Our staff and doctors have made their decisions for our patients, who are always at the center of everything we do,” said Marc Boom, CEO of the hospital, adding that those who will not be immune from here Next Monday (21) will be made redundant. .
Jared Woodfill, an attorney for the employees who filed the lawsuit, hinted that the group intended to go to higher courts to try to reverse the decision. “This legal battle has only just begun. Employment should not be conditioned on your acceptance to serve as a human guinea pig.”