A Texas judge tossed out a lawsuit brought by 117 Houston Methodist hospital employees who sought to block the hospital system’s requirement that all employees receive COVID-19 vaccinations or face suspension and/or termination.
The move comes after the hospital suspended 178 employees without pay last week over their refusal to get vaccinated – 117 of which sued to overturn the requirement.
US District Judge Lynn Hughes of Houston wrote in a scathing Saturday ruling that lead plaintiff Jennifer Bridges’ assertion that the vaccines are “experimental and dangerous” was false and otherwise irrelevant, according to AP (via Chron). He added that the plaintiff’s likening of the vaccination requirement to forced medical experimentation by the Nazis on concentration camp captives was “reprehensible.”
In addition, Hughes ruled that making employment conditional upon vaccination status does not constitute coercion, as Bridges’ complaint alleges.
“Bridges says that she is being forced to be injected with the vaccine or be fired. This is not coercion. Methodist is trying to do their business of saving lives without giving them the COVID-19 virus,” reads the ruling. “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,” the Reagan appointee continued.
Houston attorney Jared Woodfill, who represents Bridges and other clients (and who thought it wise to include a Holocaust analogy in the original complaint), has promised an appeal.
“All of my clients continue to be committed to fighting this unjust policy,” he said in a statement, adding. “What is shocking is that many of my clients were on the front line treating COVID-positive patients at Texas Methodist Hospital during the height of the pandemic. As a result, many of them contracted COVID-19. As a thank you for their service and sacrifice, Methodist Hospital awards them a pink slip and sentences them to bankruptcy.”
“We’re taking it all the way Supreme Court,” he added.
The hospital allowed some employees to forgo vaccination for religious reasons or medical concerns; 285 employees received a medical or religious exemption, while 332 were granted deferrals for pregnancy or other reasons.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said recently that businesses can require employees to get a vaccine without violating federal laws but that employers must provide “reasonable accommodations” for workers who can’t or won’t get vaccinated due to religious reasons, pregnancy, or a disability.
Over 100 employees from the system filed the lawsuit last month, asserting that officials were forcing employees “to be human ‘guinea pigs’ as a condition for continued employment.” –The Epoch Times
“We can now put this behind us and continue our focus on unparalleled safety, quality, service, and innovation,” CEO of Houston Methodist, Marc Boom, told news outlets in response to the ruling. “Our employees and physicians made their decisions for our patients, who are always at the center of everything we do.”