Federal judge upholds Cincinnati healthcare system’s COVID vaccine mandate

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a federal judge governed friday That a healthcare provider serving the Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati area may issue a mandate to require vaccination or exposure termination to more than 10,000 of its employees.

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why it matters: It is the latest decision to uphold the right of US private employers to issue vaccine mandates, and comes after President Biden signed an executive order requiring immunizations or testing once a week for companies with more than 100 employees. is required.

What are they saying: St. Elizabeth Healthcare staff failed to show that a hospital operator’s vaccine requirement infringed upon personal liberty, U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning written in judgment.

  • Because the operator retains the right to set conditions for employment, the mandate holds, Bunning said.
  • Citing a 1905 U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld the Massachusetts smallpox vaccination mandate, Bunning stated that “[a]Genuine freedom may not exist for all of us, where individual freedom overrides potential injury to others.”
  • Although he acknowledged workers’ concerns about the vaccine, “skepticism cannot overwhelm the law.”
  • “If an employee believes that his personal liberty is more important than the legally permissible conditions on his employment, that employee may choose to exercise another personal liberty, no less important – the right to seek other employment,” Bunning wrote.

Reference: Elizabeth, the largest employer in northern Kentucky, announced on August 5 that workers without religious or medical exemptions would be required to receive shots by October 1.

  • Employees who have been denied the exemption have until November 1 to be fully vaccinated.
  • Lawyers filed suit on behalf of dozens of employees earlier this month, asking Bunning to declare the mandate invalid. During the hearing of the case in court, he asked the judge to block the mandate.

What are they saying: Mark Guilfoyle, attorney representing St. Elizabeth, said in an interview with The Cincinnati Inquirer That decision “could not be more firmly in our favor.”

  • “This is great news for St. Elizabeth’s patients, for St. Elizabeth colleagues, and for our entire community,” Guilfoyle said. “This mandate is going to help reduce community spread, and it’s going to help keep people out of hospital, who are already under stress.”
  • A spokesman for the firm representing the employees called the decision a “shock” and “wrong”. In a video posted on Friday. “We lost here, which we thought was our strongest chance of winning, so we have to focus on what to do from here.”
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