Legal Insider: First court approves mandatory vaccination requirement by employer

This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Northern Virginia that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement and private sector employee matters.

By John V. Berry, Esq.

In one of the first court rulings on the issue, a federal district court has dismissed a lawsuit brought by over a hundred Houston hospital employees that had challenged their employer’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement. Hospital officials had suspended a number of employees that refused to be inoculated for COVID-19, and a lawsuit was filed.

First Ruling on Forced COVID-19 Vaccinations by Employers

U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas noted, in the opinion, that the federal government has advised that employers can require employees to get vaccines.

Judge Hughes, in rejecting the hospital employees’ lawsuit, held: This is not coercion. Methodist [Hospital] 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.

Furthermore, Judge Hughes referred to the lawyer’s argument that requiring employees to take the COVID-19 vaccine as being similar to medical experimentation in Nazi concentration camps as “reprehensible.”

Employees Have Option to Refuse Vaccine and Seek Other Employment

In closing, Judge Hughes held that employees had a choice between complying with the COVID-19 vaccination requirement or finding other employment. The case is likely to be appealed and more litigation in the future is likely.

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