Maine Health Care Workers Continue To Seek Relief

Jul 12, 2022

BANGOR, ME – Liberty Counsel filed an amended complaint to federal Judge Jon Levy in response to his ruling to require the public disclosure of Jane Does 1–6, et al., v. Janet Mills, et al., in their lawsuit regarding the Maine law that requires employees of designated Maine health care facilities to be vaccinated with the COVID-19 shot. The previously unidentified plaintiffs will now identify themselves publicly as a result of Judge Levy’s ruling and proceed with their claims. 

The health care workers continue to seek relief from discrimination from Maine Gov. Janet Mills, health officials of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and five of the state’s largest hospital systems. Mills ordered employers to deny all religious exemptions and ignore the federal employment law known as Title VII that affords employees the right to request reasonable accommodation for their sincere religious beliefs. Many of these health care workers who requested religious exemptions are now unemployed, having been terminated on October 29, the governor’s deadline for compliance. 

The plaintiffs are all health care workers in Maine who have sincerely held religious beliefs that preclude them from accepting any of the COVID-19 injections because of the connections to aborted fetal cell lines and for other religious reasons that have been articulated to the defendants. 

However, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits the defendants from discriminating against the plaintiffs on the basis of their sincerely held religious beliefs.

Judge Levy ordered the plaintiffs, eight Maine health care workers and one individual health care provider, to reveal their identities by July 8, 2022. Liberty Counsel obtained an extension until Monday, July 11. 

Two media companies—MTM Acquisition, Inc. (Portland Press Herald, Maine Sunday Telegram, Kennebec Journal, and Morning Sentinel) and SJ Acquisition, Inc. (Sun Journal) sought to expose the identities of these health care workers. In fact, these media corporations waited until November 10, 2021, to move to intervene which proves that their “alleged injury” is purely farce due to the fact that the case was originally filed in August. 

From the outset of the litigation, the complaint, pleadings, filings, proceedings and court orders have been open to the public, and the media was allowed access to all hearings. Yet, these media corporations contend that allowing plaintiffs to proceed under pseudonyms “deprives” their “presumptive rights of access to court proceedings and records.” 

The First Amendment guarantees the freedom of speech and press and prohibits the government from closing courtroom doors. Media corporations already have the qualified First Amendment access they seek. However, plaintiffs have the right to privacy in legal proceedings to protect them from medical disclosure and from harassment and harm. 

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “Maine is required to abide by federal law and provide protections to employees who have sincerely held religious objections to the COVID shots and these health care workers are no exception. No American should be faced with this unconscionable choice, especially the health care heroes who have served admirably for the entire duration of COVID- 19. These health care workers have already suffered irreparable harm by being forced to choose between their jobs and their sincerely held religious beliefs.” 

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