A suit involving Houston Methodist Hospital’s employee vaccine requirement was dismissed over the weekend after the plaintiff alleged that the hospital was putting its employees in a “forced human experiment” by requiring them to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The hospital countered the suit with a motion to dismiss, which was granted by Judge Lynn N. Hughes.
Jennifer Bridges, along with 116 other employees, sued the Houston Methodist Hospital after they announced this vaccination requirement that had to be fulfilled by June 7. Bridges claimed that the hospital was forcing its employees to choose between being “injected” or being fired, which she believes would constitute wrongful termination. Under Texas law, wrongful termination is only successfully demonstrated when the individual shows that they were required to commit an illegal act that had accompanying criminal penalties. The judge found that receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is not illegal and carries no criminal penalties.
The plaintiff also asserted that the current COVID-19 vaccines are both experimental and dangerous. Specifically, she refuses to be a “human guinea pig.” The judge found that the vaccination requirement is directed towards the hospital’s continued effort to make the hospital environment “safer for their workers and the patients.” In her complaint, Bridges equated the vaccine requirement to the forced medical experimentation that took during the Holocaust, a comparison which the judge described as “reprehensible.”
The injection requirement by the hospital is also said to be a violation of public policy by the plaintiff. She contended that one cannot be required to receive medicines that are “unapproved” in emergencies, especially those like the COVID-19 vaccines which she claimed are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Bridges explained that “the injection requirement is forcing its employees to participate in a human trial because no currently available vaccine has been fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration.”
However, the Supreme Court has ruled that “involuntary quarantine for contagious diseases and state-imposed requirements of mandatory vaccination do not violate due process.” Further, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has said that employers may require vaccination against COVID-19 for employees. The judge ruled that “Bridges can freely choose to accept or refuse a COVID-19 vaccine; however, if she refuses, she will simply need to work somewhere else.”