Health workers sue Texas hospital over mandatory Covid vaccinations
Healthcare workers from a Texas hospital filed a lawsuit against their employer for enacting a mandate requiring all staff to receive a vaccination against Covid-19.
In total, 117 healthcare workers joined the lawsuit against Houston Methodist Hospital, saying the facility's requirement violated the Nuremberg Code, a post WWII-era guideline barring experimentation on human subjects without their consent.
Attorney Jared Woodfill, who filed the lawsuit, told ABC News that the hospital forcing its employees to get the vaccines was meant to help boost the hospital's profits.
"To promote its business and increase profits at the expense of other health care providers and their employees' health, Defendants advertise to the public that they 'require all employees and employed physicians to get a COVID-19 vaccine.' More clearly, Defendants' employees are being forced to serve as human 'guinea pigs' to increase Defendants' profits," Mr Woodfill said.
He called it a "severe and blatant violation of the Nuremberg Code" and Texas' public policy guidelines.
The Washington Post reported that the hospital instructed staff that if they did not receive the vaccine, they would lose their jobs.
The hospital told ABC News that it offered exemptions to the vaccine for "religious and medical exemptions, as well as deferrals for pregnant women”.
Some of the accommodations the hospital says it will make may allow unvaccinated employees to wear a face mask and social distance while working, to work a modified shift, to get periodic tests for Covid-19, be given the opportunity to tele-work, or to take a reassignment.
The hospital network, which oversees eight facilities and more than 26,000 employees, gave workers a deadline of 7 June to take the shots or face disciplinary actions.
The hospital's CEO Marc Boom released a statement responding to the lawsuit on Friday, claiming that 99 per cent of the healthcare network's employees had been vaccinated.
The plaintiff's claim that such an ultimatum violates state law, and asked the court to bar the hospital from firing any unvaccinated staffers.
The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that companies could mandate that employees receive vaccinations against the coronavirus,
Despite this, employers have been hesitant to enact mandates due to the threat of legal blowback from employees.
A survey by management law firm Fisher Phillips this year found that only 9 per cent of the more than 700 employers said they were considering a mandate.
As a result, public health officials have tried to find other avenues for convincing the public to take the shots, ranging from prize-giveaway gimmicks like Ohio's "Vaxamillion" lotteries and outreach and "get out the vote" style campaigns.
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