200 Houston Hospital Workers Suspended For Failing To Get Vaccinated
Nearly 200 Houston-area hospital workers have been suspended for refusing to get vaccinated. In case you were wondering whether or not your employer can require you to get the vaccine, the answer is yes. The workers were suspended after a major protest against the hospital policy requiring them to get the vaccine. 117 workers filed a lawsuit against the hospital for their policy.
This case is interesting because it involves several areas of the law including workers’ compensation, personal injury, and labor and civil rights laws.
So, where are we now?
An employer is allowed to fire an employee who refuses to get vaccinated. However, there are other considerations in the law that are not so easily decided. In fact, it was the EEOC who entered the fray on behalf of workers to discuss specific pitfalls in such legislation.
As it turns out, an employer, under the terms of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), must make “reasonable accommodations” for a disabled employee. Any employee who is at increased risk of taking the vaccine would thus have a legal excuse to refuse. The employer would not be able to fire them for their refusal since this is a civil rights matter. The employer would be expected to make a reasonable accommodation for an employee who had a disability that made the vaccine dangerous to them.
Of course, one could argue that the same employee with the same disability would be at greater risk if they actually caught the virus. But what about employees who already got the virus and recovered? Should they too be required to take the vaccine after having been naturally vaccinated by the contagion?
Meanwhile, opponents to mandatory vaccinations are pointing out the fact that the FDA has only approved the vaccine for emergency use and has not officially approved the vaccine.
In other news, states like Texas and Florida have both passed legislation prohibiting the requirement of vaccine passports which could unfairly exclude disabled people from public life. Nonetheless, the vaccine remains an important tool for eliminating the pandemic and early reports are good that the vaccine is effective against the coronavirus and several variants.
The hospital maintains that unvaccinated workers present a serious threat to their patients and can easily become vectors for the virus in a place where immune systems are compromised. However, the laws have failed to address civil rights complaints concerning disabled workers who may have conditions that make the vaccine dangerous, such as autoimmune disorders or immunodeficiencies. So, there must be more clarity when it comes to disabled workers.
Talk to a Miami Work Injury Attorney Today
If you’ve sustained an injury at work, you have rights to recover damages related to your injury, medical expenses, and lost wages. Contact the Miami workers’ compensation attorneys at Payer Law today to learn more about how we can help.