A group of 117 unvaccinated medical workers for a Houston medical group has filed a lawsuit against their employer for mandating the COVID-19 vaccine. The workers claim that it forces them to act as test subjects for a currently still experimental vaccine in order to retain their employment.
The medical group has defended its policy because of its responsibility to provide for the safety of its patients and because the FDA has shown the available vaccines to be both safe and effective. Additionally, out of the hospital group’s employees, roughly 99% have complied with the policy.
Despite the go-ahead for employer-mandated vaccines recently given by the EEOC, numerous private and state employees have filed similar lawsuits across the country. However, given the explicit EEOC guidance and the heavy toll the pandemic has taken, it is quite possible that judges will lean in favor of employer mandates.
Regardless, employers should keep in mind that they still have a responsibility to ensure reasonable accommodations are made for employees who refuse the vaccine due to either religious or disability-related reasons. It is also important for employers to confirm that no other state or local mandates apply to their business.