June 23, 2021
More than 150 employees at a Houston hospital system who refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine have been fired or resigned after a judge dismissed an employee lawsuit over the vaccine requirement.
A representative of Houston Methodist hospital system told CBS News 153 employees either resigned in the two-week suspension period or were terminated on Tuesday.
The case over how far health care institutions can go to protect patients and others against the coronavirus has been closely watched. It’s believed to be the first of its kind in the U.S. But is far from ending the debate of forced vaccinations.
Earlier this month, a federal judge threw out the lawsuit filed by more than one hundred employees over the requirement. The hospital system’s decision in April to require the vaccine for workers made it the first major U.S. health care system to do so.
In a scathing opinion, U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes said the plaintiff’s contention that the emergency-use vaccines are “experimental and dangerous” was false and irrelevant. She also lambasted the plaintiffs for attempting to liken the use of the vaccines to Nazi-forced medical experimentation.
Judge Hughes wrote:
“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”
Jared Woodfill, a Houston lawyer representing Bridges and the other clients, promised an appeal.
“All of my clients continue to be committed to fighting this unjust policy,” Woodfill said in a statement. “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.”