St. Elizabeth employees go to court over vaccine requirement

St. Elizabeth employees go to court over vaccine requirement
Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 5:55 PM EDT

COVINGTON, Ky. (WXIX) - Forty-seven St. Elizabeth Hospital employees are requesting a federal judge put a hold on the hospital’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement.

The workers argue that the hospital cannot force them to get vaccinated by threatening their jobs.

Representing the 47 staffers is Attorney Alan Statman.

He told Judge David Bunning Wednesday that these workers will be forced out on Oct. 1 if they don’t get the vaccine.

“I think it’s irreparable harm and I think given what they’ve done for patients in the hospital over the last 18 months,” Statman said in the courtroom. “To be summarily dismissed in this fashion isn’t warranted.”

There is also a concern that a terminated employee would be labeled as an anti-vaxer.

Statman referred to the label as a scarlet letter around the employees’ necks, saying it will make it hard if not impossible for them to find work elsewhere.

“I’m still myself. I’m still April. Just because I don’t agree with the mandate doesn’t mean that I’m a different person,” explained Mercy Health employee April Hoskins. “There is some bad feedback at work. The morale is down and it’s just because we are so passionate about it.”

Lawyers for St. Elizabeth say they have approved dozens of requests for medical and religious exemptions for the vaccination. They added that there are hundreds of others that are still pending.

The attorney said that anyone who filed for an exemption will have a grace period where they only had to receive their first dose of vaccine by Oct.1 and the second dose by Nov. 1.

Statman says what the hospital is doing is turning these workers from heroes to zeroes.

Judge Bunning, early on in the hearing, told the court that he would not rule from the bench.

He said he will make his decision on whether or not to grant injunction by the end of the week with the Oct. 1 deadline looming.

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