Judge Tosses Lawsuit Filed by Unvaccinated Employees

Judge: Comparing vaccine requirement to experimenting on concentration camp victims during the Holocaust is 'reprehensible'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 13, 2021 3:05 PM CDT
Judge Dismisses Hospital Employees' Lawsuit
Prepared Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine syringes.   (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

A federal judge threw out a lawsuit filed by employees of a Houston hospital system over its requirement that all of its staff be vaccinated against COVID-19. The Houston Methodist Hospital system suspended 178 employees without pay last week over their refusal to get vaccinated, the AP reports. Of them, 117 sued seeking to overturn the requirement and over their suspension and threatened termination. In a scathing ruling Saturday, U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes of Houston deemed lead plaintiff Jennifer Bridges’ contention that the vaccines are “experimental and dangerous” to be false and otherwise irrelevant. He also found that her likening the vaccination requirement to the Nazis' forced medical experimentation on concentration camp captives during the Holocaust to be “reprehensible.”

Hughes also ruled that making vaccinations a condition of employment was not coercion, as Bridges contended. “Bridges can freely choose to accept or refuse a COVID-19 vaccine; however, if she refuses, she will simply need to work somewhere else. If a worker refuses an assignment, changed office, earlier start time, or other directive, he may be properly fired. Every employment includes limits on the worker’s behavior in exchange for remuneration. That is all part of the bargain,” Hughes concluded. Jared Woodfill, a Houston lawyer representing Bridges and the other clients, promised an appeal. Employees had a June 7 deadline to complete their immunization.

(Read more COVID-19 stories.)

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