Health Care Workers in the Line of Fired

Sep 8, 2021

As deadlines for mandatory vaccinations begin to expire across the country, the health care sector may set off an unintended crisis for punishing the noncompliant with termination. Health care workers find themselves in the crosshairs of no-way-out ultimatums aimed directly at them. The personal stories are heartbreaking and just keep pouring into the law offices of Liberty Counsel, a public-interest law firm based in Virginia, Florida and Washington D.C. Since the end of July, more than 15,000 pleas for help have come into the office, as it races against the clock to help the soon-to-be-disenfranchised obtain religious and medical exemptions.

Behind the thousands of emails and calls are real people in a crisis of conscience. Take Lisa who wrote from Mississippi, “I work at [a major hospital] as a registered nurse. I have worked with this employer for almost 12 years. Now they are threatening to fire me if I do not take the COVID vaccine.”

Another case from Michigan defies reason. Ray said: “I am being forced by my employer to get the COVID vaccine. I work 100% remote, no patient contact, no staff contact.”  And what about Mary, a 51-year-old nurse in Jacksonville, Florida who works at a long-term care facility? She said, “I just recovered from COVID last week and my antibodies are strong. Why is my only choice ‘get the jab or lose my job?’ Why are health care administrators not looking at regularly scheduled antibody testing as an alternative for both the vaccinated and unvaccinated? Haven’t the vaccines’ efficacy been proven to wane over time? Isn’t there now proof showing that natural antibodies generated from recovering from an infection outlast those that are vaccine-generated?”

States like New York are going as far as to eliminate all religious exemptions and grant medical ones only for those who risk severe allergic reaction. Five other states –– Colorado, Maine, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington –– join New York in the “vaccination or termination” ultimatum being given to all health care workers. By Oct. 31, 2021, if these mandates are not overturned in the courts, thousands of health care workers may be out of work or will have taken the vaccine against their better judgment. In some cases, vaccination will not result in termination but instead, an agreement to adhere to protocols that include regular testing, N-95 masks, social distancing, and something that Marti, who works for a Tallahassee hospital, calls “vaccine education.”

What is even more perplexing is ignoring the unknown repercussions of eliminating essential and highly trained health care workers when they are needed most—in the middle of a pandemic. Just this past month, Houston hospitals reported “reaching a breaking point” during a COVID-19 outbreak that came on the heels of 150 hospital workers being fired by Houston Methodist, one of the hospitals left struggling. Behind those numbers are real people who served their communities all through the crisis, and now have been left to fend for themselves.

“COVID shot mandates that provide no religious and medical exemptions are not only illegal, but they also defy rational thought,” says Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel. “Our health care systems will soon face a national crisis. Hospitals have already begun terminating these healthcare heroes. We are working around the clock on behalf of the many who have been faithfully serving their communities to ensure that they can continue providing for their families without having to sacrifice their deeply held beliefs.”

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