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List of Mass General Brigham employees suing to not get Covid-19 shots expands, but case won't go to trial until at least 2023

The list of employees suing Mass General Brigham over their dismissals for refusing to get Covid-19 shots expanded to 224 yesterday - which includes four doctors - but the earliest the case could come to trial is sometime in 2023, under a schedule set yesterday by the judge presiding over the case.

The eight original employees who had sued over their dismissals following a Nov. 5 deadline had sought an emergency order from Saylor to get them their jobs back while the case continued. US District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor denied the request, as did a federal appeals court. The US Supreme Court declined to hear the case.

The employees, a small percentage of the hospital networks' roughly 80,000 workers, are seeking both their jobs back and monetary damages to be determined at trial - if the case gets that far. One of the last items on Saylor's schedule is for the two sides to file possible motions for "summary judgment" - to decide whether to let the case go before a jury.

Among the employees named in the suit are Dr. James Wines, a psychiatrist; Dr. Carlos Duran, a pediatric critical-care specialist; Dr. Sarah Shulman, a neonatologist; and Dr. Maria Rupnick, a cardiologist. Dr. Elizabeth Bigger, who was one of the original eight employees who sued, has dropped out of the case. All four doctors claimed religious reasons for not wanting the shots; one also said he had a disability that would preclude him getting them.

The amended complaint, filed yesterday, claims both medical and religious reasons for rejecting Mass General Brigham's demands to get the shots and say the hospital unfairly rejected their exception requests and failed to give them a way to appeal decisions of the two panels the hospital system set up to judge requests for exemptions. Of the 224 employees, 204 sought religious exemptions:

These plaintiffs have sincerely held religious beliefs, rooted in Biblical Scripture and received by them through prayer.

Plaintiffs seek to make daily decisions, including those regarding vaccination and other medical decisions, through prayer and by reading the Bible.

These sincerely held and prayerfully developed religious beliefs preclude plaintiffs from taking the COVID-19 vaccines.For plaintiffs to disobey sincerely held religious beliefs would violate their conscience. See John 14:15 (NIV): "If you love me, keep my commands," Acts 5:29 (KJV) "...We ought to obey God rather than men.”

They also claim the hospital failed to offer the workers accommodations that would let them continue working even under Covid-19 protocols such as social distancing, mask wearing and frequent testing, in violation of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. In its ruling denying their request for an emergency order to force the hospital to rehire them immediately, the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit said that law exempts firings of employees who cannot carry out their jobs, in this case, by violating a hospital requirement that they not "pose a direct threat to patients" by dealing with them while unvaccinated.

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Comments

I’d like to know, for example, if my pediatric critical-care specialist is especially likely to have measles or rubella. (And before you give me a “but stem cells”, I’d point out that #notallvaccines.)

Do the court documents specify the content of the religious objection? Like, which religious sects do these goofs belong to? A blanket reference to an exhortation to “follow the law” doesn’t get us to how they distinguish the express prohibitions on shrimp or mixed fiber from the (allegedly implied) rule against vaccination. If they’re so religious, surely they can cite the specific phrasing or the revealed word of god that states the relevant law. (And do so in the Greek or Hebrew, of course, because why would you trust a translator on that central existential issue?)

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They will eventually have to file affidavits that detail their specific reasons. In the first go-round, some objected to the use of cells derived from aborted fetuses from decades ago for testing, while others objected to what they said was the way the vaccines would alter their God-given DNA.

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If you’re going to compare anti-vaxing to the Jewish laws of keeping kosher and not mixing fabric fibers, please keep in mind that saving human life is the most important Jewish commandment.

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Agree. More at https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pikuach_nefesh

If it ever comes down to wearing a cotton-wool blend or dying, the Lord is clear: put on the damn sweater.

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Are these people saying their religion is a disability and they’re seeking exemptions under the ADA? That’s not the flex they think it is….

Also, would not be happy to receive medical care from someone who was praying to make those decisions.

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The religious issue is the First Amendment. The disabilities issue is the ADA (with the proviso that the appeals court has already pretty definitively smacked that down, even if just for the purposes of an emergency injunction, not the entire case).

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Also, would not be happy to receive medical care from someone who was praying to make those decisions.

I do not want religion-based medical treatment. I prefer science-based medical treatment.

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We don't need medical staff with those attitudes

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The problem is we don't have enough medical staff.

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I might not agree with them on the COVID vaccine, but firing medical professionals during a health crises might come back to bite us this winter.

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With high patient counts and community transmission, the unvaccinated are statistically higher risk in all regards when it comes to COVID (more likely to get infected, more likely to get sick, more likely to be sicker and transmissible for longer, more likely to become hospitalized, more likely to die, etc) so an essential healthcare worker voluntarily choosing to put themselves and those they work with in a medical setting at higher overall risk from the disease are essentially threatening to reduce staff through disease rather than through firing.

And as others in these comments have indicated, there is a cloud over the medical judgement of these individuals now.

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If they die of covid before trial, do they win or lose?

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I hear a lot about how we should pay for cops and military, but not a lot about how we should pay for lawyers and judges.

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When this gets to a court and the State says you must be vaccinated to enter a courthouse.?
Zoom court?

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It's a dilemma. Considering that a lot of common criminals are unvaccinated.

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Court hearings have been held via Zoom since 2020, it's not like it would be a novel idea.

And even with that, defendants had the right to appear in an actual courtroom, even before vaccines. Most chose not to.

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It was just a question.

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Doesn't seem like there's much of a downside to adding your name to the suit at this point. I'm sure many can find employment elsewhere, and if they win, there will be monetary damages which will give them extra income.

To be clear: I think health care workers refusing to get vaccinated is despicable. And while there might be a small minority with honest religious concerns, I highly doubt that of the majority.

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From the start, the lawyer for the plaintiffs claimed he was representing well over 200 employees, but that he only put eight of them on the original complaint to try to save the court time and speed things up.

But the hospital objected, in part because the employee "association" that was also allegedly a party did not, in fact, exist. So the lawyer added the remainder of his clients as named plaintiffs.

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"The entire Law of God is fulfilled by keeping this one command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself." (Galatians 5:19)

"Do nothing from selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather in humility of mind consider the needs of others as more important than yourself." (Philippians 2:3)

"No one should seek their own good but the good of others." (1 Corinthians10:14)

"A new commandment I give you: LOVE one another. As I have loved you you must love one another." (John 13:34)

These Doctors are under a spiritual delusion claiming Scriptures to support obedience to God when Gods Great Commandment is LOVE God and all people when the most likely side affect of getting the vaccine is not dying from COVID and not unwittingly giving it to others to keep them from getting sick.

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… she is not ready to get vaccinated yet and is leaving it in god’s hands.
If she were to say that to me, I’d tell her that her god gave the opportunity to be vaccinated straight from it’s hands into hers.

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(Expletive) her mythology.

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Amen.

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...where someone is stranded on rocks in choppy water and prays to God to help. A boat passes by, the person declines, saying, no, I'll rely on God to help me. Another boat, same thing, then a helicopter, same thing. Finally the person dies of hypothermia, gets to heaven, asks God why you didn't save me. God's like, bruh, I sent two boats and a helicopter.

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I love this line.

See John 14:15 (NIV): "If you love me, keep my commands," Acts 5:29 (KJV) "...We ought to obey God rather than men.”

This is also a great excuse for running red lights.

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The choice is that simple. Or should be.

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Good luck selecting the jury. Either you're vaccinated or not. It's the mask and sanitizer that rule.

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People have varying views on rights to jobs and rights to personal and public health choices, regardless of their own vaccination status.

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