U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes ruled that Texas law only protects employees from being fired if they are asked to commit an illegal act that carries criminal penalties. Getting a COVID vaccine is “not an illegal act,” the judge said.
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A federal judge in Texas on Saturday dismissed a lawsuit by healthcare workers who accused their employer of “unlawfully forcing its employees” to receive the COVID vaccine.
Jennifer Bridges and 116 other plaintiffs said Houston Methodist Hospital is forcing employees to get COVID vaccines that are “experimental and dangerous.” Firing employees for refusing the vaccine is “wrongful termination,” the plaintiffs said.
The hospital last week suspended nearly 200 employees who refused the vaccine.
U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes ruled Texas law only protects employees from being fired if they are asked to commit an illegal act that carries criminal penalties. According to the judge’s ruling, “receiving a COVID-19 vaccination is not an illegal act, and it carries no criminal penalties.”
The plaintiffs argued requiring employees to get the COVID vaccine violates federal law because the vaccines have not received full approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are still Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) products. Hughes dismissed this claim, saying the law authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services to roll out “medical products intended for use in an emergency.”