A federal judge has dismissed the lawsuit brought against a Houston hospital challenging forced COVID-19 vaccinations for its employees. This is the first ruling of this type in the country, as The Blaze notes.
What are the details?
On Saturday, the lawsuit brought by more than 100 employees against Houston Methodist hospital due to the policy that mandates every employee to be vaccinated against COVID-19 was tossed.
A group of 117 hospital workers filed the complaint against their employer in May, arguing that such a policy was not lawful.
“They accuse the hospital system of violating state law, as well as federal public health law related to the use of medical products in emergencies, saying coronavirus vaccines have only been authorized for emergency use and therefore cannot be mandated. They want the court to issue an order barring Houston Methodist from terminating the unvaccinated employees,” the Washington Post reported.
Lats week the hospital announced it was taking action against unvaccinated employees. It has, indeed, suspended 178 workers without pay for not being fully vaccinated.
The suspended employees have a deadline until June 21. They need to comply with the vaccine mandate until then or the Houston Methodist hospital will fire them.
How did the judge see the issue?
U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes tossed every claim in the lawsuit and decided that Houston Methodist's vaccine policy is similar to any other workplace policy brought on by an employer.
“Although her claims fail as a matter of law, it is also necessary to clarify that hospital worker Jennifer Bridges has not been coerced. Bridges says that she is being forced to be injected with a 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.
It is a choice made to keep staff, patients, and their families safer. 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 another directive, he may be properly fired. Every employment includes limits on the worker's behavior in exchange for his renumeration. This is all part of the bargain,” the judge wrote, according to The Blaze.
“Jennifer Bridges and the balance of the plaintiffs will take nothing from Houston Methodist Hospital and Houston Methodist the Woodlands Hospital,” was the conclusion.
How did everyone involved react?
The attorney representing the hospital employees, Jared Woodfill, stated he would take the challenge further, all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if he has to.
“This is just one battle in a larger war to protect the rights of employees to be free from being forced to participate in a vaccine trial as a condition for employment,” Woodfill said for NBC News.
“We can now put this behind us and continue our focus on unparalleled safety, quality, service and innovation,” Dr. Marc Boom, president and CEO of Houston Methodist, said while applauding the judge’s decision.