A lawsuit has been filed in Texas against Houston Methodist Hospital for requiring all staff to acquire the COVID-19 vaccine.
The network, which manages eight hospitals and employs over 26,000 people, gave employees until June 7 to acquire the immunization. Staffers face suspension and firing if they do not comply, according to the lawsuit.
As a result, 117 employees filed a lawsuit in Montgomery County on Friday, alleging that the hospital is “illegally ordering its employees to be injected with an experimental vaccination as a condition of employment.”
The FDA issued its first emergency use authorization for COVID-19 in December 2020, according to the lawsuit, but the vaccines are still pending full FDA approval and licensing, which will likely take months as the agency reviews new evidence.
According to the suit, forcing employees to acquire the vaccine violates the Nuremberg Code, which prohibits forced medical experiments and requires voluntary permission.
Dr. Marc Boom, the hospital’s CEO, issued a letter to workers in April informing them that they must get vaccinated by June 7. The letter, which was contained in the lawsuit, added, “Please view the HR policy that details the repercussions of not being compliant by June 7, which include suspension and finally termination.”
Houston Methodist is pressuring staff to get the shot to enhance the hospital’s earnings, according to attorney Jared Woodfill, who brought the lawsuit.
“Defendants advertise to the public that they “demand all employees and employed physicians to acquire a COVID-19 vaccine” in order to promote their business and boost profits at the expense of other health care professionals and their employees’ health. Defendants’ employees are being compelled to act as human “guinea pigs” in order to boost Defendants’ earnings “According to Woodfill.
The lawsuit claims that forcing the plaintiffs to take the vaccination is against Texas law, and it seeks a temporary restraining order to prohibit the hospital from firing employees who refuse to take the vaccination.
Houston Methodist told ABC News that it offered “religious and medical exemptions, as well as deferrals for pregnant women” to staff who did not want to obtain the COVID vaccine.
Employers can legally require COVID-19 vaccines to re-enter a physical workplace if they follow requirements to find alternative arrangements for employees who are unable to get vaccinated due to medical reasons or religious beliefs, according to new guidance issued Friday by the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, a federal government agency that protects workers from discrimination.
According to the guidelines, some of these adjustments may include enabling an unvaccinated employee to wear a face mask and maintain social distance while at work, working a modified shift, receiving frequent COVID-19 testing, being allowed to telework, or accepting a reassignment.
Employees are legally protected from harassment such as anti-Asian bias or if they believe they are not being allowed to work because they are at high risk for COVID-19, according to the EEOC.
In a statement to ABC News, he added, “It is said that the few remaining staff who refuse to get vaccinated and put our patients first are behaving in this way.” “It is permissible for health-care organizations to require immunizations, as we have done since 2009 with the flu vaccination. The COVID-19 vaccinations have been shown to be very safe and effective in clinical testing and are not experimental.”