Liberty Counsel has received thousands upon thousands of requests from health care workers requesting help with their religious exemption requests who have been told if they don’t receive the COVID shot, they will be taken off their rotation, work schedule or be fired.
Sometimes health care workers are not even given notice of a shot requirement. Instead, the employer just questions them if they are vaccinated. If they are not, they are immediately fired. There is an intense level of stress that each of these people are facing right now.
One of those requests was a husband who called and broke down in tears: “My wife will be fired on Monday. She is part of more than 50 medical workers in a nursing home who declined the jab. They are being forced to sign that they ‘voluntarily’ quit so they can’t get unemployment benefits. Do we have to?”
All health care workers are protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act which does provide for religious exemptions and accommodations and mandates that employers provide them. Furthermore, COVID shots cannot be mandatory under Title VII. In general, employee vaccine religious exemption requests must be accommodated, where a reasonable accommodation exists without undue hardship to the employer, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Many people hold sincere religious beliefs against taking any vaccines, or taking those derived from aborted fetal cell lines, or taking those sold by companies that profit from the sale of vaccines and other products derived from abortion.
Further, all private health care employers and workers employed by the state also have protection for the exercise of their sincerely held religious beliefs under the First Amendment. These employees do not shed their constitutional rights upon entering government employment.
Among the nation’s 50 largest hospitals, the percentage of unvaccinated health care workers has been reported to be about one in three.
This past Wednesday, a demonstration of over 100 against the mandate ensued outside Baptist Memorial Healthcare hospital which included hospital workers, family members and children.
Nurse Informaticist Lacy Cunningham said, “We need a little bit more respect, especially with what these nurses and health care workers have been through over the past year. It’s a big slap in the face. You trust me to take care of you and make medical decisions and actions that take care of you, but you don’t trust me to make medical actions and decisions to take care of myself.” Cunningham says she supports vaccination but can’t get vaccinated herself like some of her family members due to health reasons.
For more information on Walkout Wednesday, Liberty Counsel has provided ideas for signage and sample radio PSAs at WalkOutWednesday.net. Individuals and organizations are making and branding their own graphics and videos. There is also a Facebook page to share information and locations with others.
While health care workers have had much more time to get vaccinated. They were the first group to become eligible for vaccines when the shots were in short supply and high demand as Oregon developed priority lists to get vaccines to front line health care workers and others who face the highest risk. However, the numbers getting the shot were low and Oregon turned to lottery prizes and giveaways in a bid to drive up its sluggish vaccination rate after shots became widely available.
Oregon State law prevents health care providers and hospitals from making vaccines mandatory for employees who work with their patients, even as the same providers vaccinate the general public and promote the importance of vaccination. The law requires health care employers to offer immunizations to their employees, but they cannot mandate the vaccines as a condition of employment.
In a TX hospital with 23,000 staff, over 80% refuse the shots. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott requested out of state assistance for the statewide crisis, including 2,500 out of state nurses. The metro-wide shortage of nurses reportedly came to light when an ER doctor emailed a state senator about the dire situation in hospitals.
“The combined increase in volume from (COVID and) existing normal volume (and) nursing shortage has made this a terrible disaster at every ER and hospital in the city of Houston,” the physician wrote, according to the Chronicle.
Many health care workers not only have a strong religious stance for not getting the shot they also point out they are resisting it because it hasn’t been fully tested by the FDA and the concern over side effects. The FDA bypassed and disregarded the normal advisory committee and public comment process for the shot.
More people are realizing what this nurse sees: “I am an RN in a small, rural hospital. We had a coworker die of an MI [myocardial infarction/heart attack] after vaccination. We have seen an enormous uptick in strokes, clotting complications, failure to thrive, and cardiac issues since [the] vaccination campaign began. Most of our admissions for ‘Covid’ since March have been in vaccinated individuals.”
These men and women were America’s front-line care teams during a critical and unprecedented time and still are. They worked an enormous number of hours (many experiencing burnout), sacrificed time with their families and put their own health at risk day after day. Now hospitals, medical institutions, etc. are willing to quickly terminate their jobs. It comes down to telling them they are disposable and they are not. These heroes are not taking it and are standing their ground.
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “We stand with our health care workers. Our federal law protects the religious convictions of employees to avoid making them choose between following their conscience or facing punishment. It is unlawful to force employees to violate their conscience, especially where there are reasonable options to accommodate their religious convictions.”